Penticton Vees players Massimo Rizzo and Luke Reid had to settle for seventh place with Team Canada Black at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Team Canada Black played for pride on Friday in Dawson Creek, defeating Sweden 4-2 . Rizzo earned one goal and assist in the game to cap the tournament with four points (one goal, four assists).
“That was the message before the game tonight – they need to know that when it comes down to it, there are still some Hockey Canada eyes on them and they still have an opportunity to remain in the program in the future. Obviously it’s for seventh and eighth, but when you look at it, it’s not for the name on the back, but the logo on the front and I think they did a good job,” said Dave Struch, on the pride of representing Canada.
After both teams had their chances in a scoreless first period, the floodgates opened in the second.
Elmer Söderblom got it started at 3:02, tipping a Philip Broberg shot past Black goaltender Roman Basran (Abbotsford, B.C./Okanagan, BCMML), but Dawson Mercer (Bay Roberts, N.L./Drummondville, QMJHL) replied for the Canadians just over four minutes later when he finished a quick passing play with Aiden Prueter (Komoka, Ont./Saginaw,OHL) and Jamieson Rees (Hamilton, Ont./Sarnia, OHL).
Victor Soderstrom needed just 1:12 to restore the lead for Sweden when he got a shot thorugh traffic and past Basran, but Sasha Mutala (Vancouver, B.C./Tri-City, WHL) wired a shot past Swedish netminder Matteus Ward off the right wing at 11:19.
Rizzo capped a busy period by finding a loose puck and beating Ward with a quick shot at 12:46 to give the Canadians their first lead – one they would not give back.
Basran was the story of the third period, making 13 of his 30 saves in the final frame before Prueter added an empty-net goal with 45 seconds remaining to finish the scoring.
Sweden, which hoisted the trophy 12 months ago in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., is the first team to go from gold medallist to last place the following year.