Tyson Jost’s gold-medal winning experience in the World Junior A Challenge will forever be remembered by the split celebration he and Liam Finlay had against Russia.
Jost, the Penticton Vees captain, and Finlay, of the Vernon Vipers, helped give Canada West a 2-0 lead in what would become a 2-1 victory on Dec. 19 at the Cobourg Community Centre. It’s Canada West’s fourth gold medal in the WJAC’s 10-year history.
“It was pretty funny. We watched the replay after the game. We both kind of hit it in there,” said Jost, who captained Canada West and was named tournament MVP. “It’s still kind of hard to see who scored but I think I did get the last touch on it. It was funny we both didn’t know, we were just both so excited. We went in opposite corners. It’s something that we get to laugh about now for the rest of our life. We will have that memory.”
“It was funny. I think it went back to (Dante) Fabbro and me and Jost both went to the net,” Finlay told the Vernon Morning Star. “I got a piece of it and then as I was trying to hit it in, I think he got it. I thought I got it, he thought he got it, so it was pretty funny. We ended up separating celebrations which was pretty funny because both of us are pretty tight. It was a pretty unbelievable feeling. Not everyday you can say you won gold.”
“It’s special and you have that connection with a teammate, obviously me and Liam played together in midget and a little bit with the Vees,” said Jost. “We’re good buddies. It’s something that we can laugh about now.”
Jost, who hails from St. Albert, Alta., described winning as surreal as it’s his second gold in six months as he and Fabbro helped Canada win the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the summer.
“It’s very humbling. Whenever you throw on that Canadian jersey you have to represent it with pride,” he said. “I think our team did that very well. I’m just really happy we would come away with the gold.”
Bobby McMann took advantage of a turnover deep in the Russian zone to open the scoring early in the third. Jost’s eventual winner came with three minutes to go. The Canadians held off a late Russian push, backed by 26 saves from Matthew Murray.
Jost was named the tournament MVP after he led all players with three goals and nine points in four games. He added that the MVP recognition is special and humbling. The last Vees player to win it was goalie Sean Bonar in 2009. Jost, also named tournament all-star, said he played really well and had a strong tournament, but stressed that it’s about the team.
“Whenever you win a gold medal, everyone is going to look good. That’s what so special about wearing that Canadian maple leaf around your chest,” he said. “Everybody gets noticed and everybody gets recognition. I’m just happy that the team won gold.”
Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said it’s awesome for Jost to receive the recognition.
“Obviously both guys (Jost and Fabbro) were leaders on their team being named captain, assistant captain,” said Harbinson, adding that the organization and city are proud of them. “Those two guys are special players. They just added something else to their resume.”
Fabbro finished the tournament with three assists in four games.
On Dec. 18, the United States defeated Team Canada East 7-1 in the bronze-medal game in Whitby, Ont.