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The S77 World Junior Championship Medal Ceremony
     
Before we begin, I have to give a big shoutout to all our GMs, players, and fans who made this tournament possible. You make this happen. I might build the hype but you are all the passengers and conductors. Thank you!
     

Our Legendary GMs:
Team Canada - Cowboy Prout
Team USA - Nic Mariani
Team World - Tina     
Team Asia - Alex J
Team Europe - N0HBODY!
    
On that note, let me present the first award of the night:
     

The Cheerleader Award
    The Cheerleader Award is something I invented because of the support and awareness needed to make this tournament successful. The Cheerleader Award is for the team who builds the best hype train, screams the loudest, and obsessively cares about the WJC. This year’s Cheerleader was a GM who pumped up their team in and out of the tournament with hype graphic announcements and pumping players’ tires at draft time. Your S77 Cheerleader Award winner is:

Spoiler

Alex J!

 

Round Robin:
The round robin set the tone for the whole tournament. Team Europe came out swinging, losing only one game in regulation on their way to a first place finish. They weren’t flashy or high-scoring and won games because of their strong defensive play - a theme we will see continue into the medal round. 


Team World was hot on the heels of Europe. The Everyone Elses finished one point behind Europe, 6-2-0 to the European 6-1-1. These two teams were neck and neck the whole, and both were in a tier of their own this tournament. Team World’s only two losses came at the hands of Team Europe in a pair of 4-2 decisions. Again, the round robin was a crystal ball for the medal round…


Hot off a spectacular S76 tournament which saw them come home with a silver medal, Team Asia continued to show the rest of the hockey world that they are no longer a laughingstock. The Asian squad this year channeled their inner DC Dragons and were aggressively average. The team finished 3-3-2 with a -1 goal differential. If there was a ninth game played, I’d bet the farm on them either losing in OT or winning 1-0.


Teams North America (they should just combine at this point) again struggled in the World Juniors. Team Canada and Team USA battled each other all tournament, knowing they were destined to meet in the quarter-finals. Team Canada finished ahead in the standings, but Team USA finished with more wins. Team Canada was fortunate to hang with the Europeans and Asians into overtime and pick up the two extra points, while Team USA struggled defensively and slipped to the bottom of the table.

 

Medal Round
Quarter Finals:

As the prophecy foretold, The Battle of North America was the first game that mattered in the tournament. Despite allowing a tournament high 37 goals against, the Americans were able to out-score the lowest scoring team in the tournament. Team USA opened up the scoring in the first with a laser from Hard “AF” Markinson just three minutes into the game. The Americans ate their orange slices at intermission, and came back into the second scoring another early goal from Paul Webber. They didn’t lose that lead all game. Team Canada got back on the board with a Joseph Sharkton marker, but Jonny Pacheco got one back a few minutes later to keep the Americans ahead 3-1 going into the third. The two teams traded goals again in the final frame, and the Americans advanced to the semi-finals with a 4-2 win over Team Canada.


The Semi-Finals:
First up, the top ranked Team Europe versus the only team that has won a medal round game so far, Team USA. This game wasn’t expected to be close, but ended up being an epic barn burner. The game was a wild back and forth. Olof Samuelsson started the game off for Team Europe before Paul Webber potted his second of the tournament one minute later to tie things up at 1. That tie stood for two half periods until Grapes gave the Americans the advantage over the favourites. Duncan Idaho got one back for the Europeans, and the two teams went into the third tied. Three minutes into the final frame, Druss Deathwalker gets one for Team Europe and forces the Americans onto their heels. The red white and blue fight and fight, and finally claw one back from a Sportsboy57 powerplay goal. Teams need their stars to play like stars in this tournament, and the big guns for Team Europe stepped up. Christian Stolzschweiger winner Duncan Idaho scored his second of the game with three minutes left in regulation to ice the game for Team Europe and advance to the final.


On the other side of the bracket were two well-rested and eager to play teams. Team World, angry that they weren’t the top seed, was ready to prove to the world that they came here to win gold. Team Asia knew they needed to come up big here if they wanted to reach the finals for a second season in a row. The first period set the tone for the rest of the game, as Team World stormed out to a 3-0 lead with goals from Reylynn Reinhart, Alexander the Great, and Joshooo. The teams traded goals in the third, but otherwise this game was finished after 20 minutes. Team World moves on to avenge their round robin losses to Team Europe, and Team Asia sets their sights on a bronze medal.

 

Bronze Medal Game
Team USA and Team Asia met in their final game, each with something to prove. Team USA needed to medal after going so long without any hardware, and Team Asia needed a medal to show the world that they are a legitimate hockey powerhouse. Two desperate teams battled hard to provide a solid defensive game. Neither team wanted to make a mistake early on, and offense took the back seat. With seconds left on the clock in the first, Team Asia’s Jon Strider pots a powerplay marker to give his squad a 1-0 lead that would continue into the third. The Americans got more and more aggressive as the game went on, but with 18 shots in the second, they just couldn’t solve goalie Andrew Bowman. Early in the third, and after a silly ASA D1 penalty, Kyle Glass finally gets the Americans on the board. The Asians were having none of it though, and Braxton Hunter stormed back thirty seconds later to steal back their lead. Nicholas Mariani added another Asian goal with three minutes left to take a 3-1 lead. Despite a strong American push in the dying minutes, and a creed goal scored with a pulled goalie, Team Asia held on to take home their second consecutive medal with a 3-2 win over Team USA.

 

Gold Medal Game
The grande finale, for all the marbles. Two teams meeting in the gold medal game who have gold medal expectations. Team Europe and Team World finished one point apart from each other in the round-robin. But, in two meetings between the teams, Europe won 4-2 both times. Team World wasn’t bothered and came here ready to play. Case in point: Noah Mashford scores three minutes into the game to take a 1-0 lead. Stolzschweiger finalist Paul Atreides did superstar things a few minutes later to tie the game up 1-1 after 1. The game was decided in the second period. After successfully killing off two near-consecutive penalties to open the period, Team Europe superstar Duncan Idaho scores on the powerplay to take back a 2-1 lead. Less than a minute later, Noah Mashford sets up Joe Madison to get Team World back even with the Europeans. The final marker of the game came late in the second, three and a half minutes into a double minor penalty to Team World’s Zeedayno Chara, as Nils Tallinder scores the game winner for Team Europe. The Europeans locked things down for the last 20 minutes, and skated off the ice as repeat gold medallists. 


GOLD MEDAL

🥇
Team Europe
GM: N0HBODY

 


SILVER MEDAL 

🥈
Team World
GM: Tina


Captains:
C - Reylynn Reinhart
A - Noah Mashford
A - Napoleon Bonaparte
     

BRONZE MEDAL 
Team Asia
GM: Alex J


Captains:
C - Andrew Bowman
A - Vasiliy Grigorev
A - Nicholas Mariani

---
Honourable Mentions


Team USA
GM: Nic Mariani


Captains:
C - Nathan Steele
A - creed
A - Sportsboy57

 

 

Team Canada
GM: Cowboy Prout

 

 

TOURNAMENT MVP:
From Team Asia, the tournament scoring leader with 16 points in 10 games, keeping the Asian medal streak alive:
 

Spoiler

Jon Strider


 

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM:

 F - Jon Strider, Team Asia (4-12--16
F - Duncan Idaho, Team Europe (8-4--12)
F - Alexander the Great, Team World (1-14--15)


D - Clinton Giftopoulos, Team World (7-8--15)
D - Reylynn Reinhart, Team World (6-6--12)

 

G - Aksu Maronen, Team Europe (0.940 SV%, 2.75 GAA)

 

 

And that’s a wrap on the S77 World Junior Championships! Thank you to everyone who made this happen, but especially the unsung heroes Josh and RJ. Without those two computer whizzes, none of this would happen.

 

Thanks everyone, see you next season, same time, same place!

 

1519 words, three weeks
 

Edited by bigAL
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