The Sudbury Wolves represented the City of Greater Sudbury, the OHL and Hockey Canada as the TEAM CANADA entry into the JUNIOR CLUB WORLD CUP tournament in Omsk Siberia by capturing the GOLD MEDAL with a 2-0 victory over TEAM USA, represented by Waterloo Black Hawks.
The two North American teams played to a scoreless tie on the strength of solid goaltending by the Tournament’s top goaltender Eamon McAdam of the USA, and JOEL VIENNEAU, of the Sudbury Wolves. Both goaltenders made several sensational saves including stoning opponents on clear-cut breakaways.
Once again, the tournament’s leading scorer JOSH LEIVO was the hero. The 19 year old Barrie native scored the game winner on a breakaway after blocking a point shot at the 8 minute mark of the third period. TEAM USA was applying lots of pressure and Leivo broke-away from the Wolves blueline before scoring on a forehand deke. Thirty-five seconds later, Wolves’ defenceman FRANK CORRADO scored the insurance marker with an accurate snap shot from the blueline on the power play. MATHEW CAMPAGNA and BRODY SILK had the assists.
The Wolves had to kill-off a late penalty in the third period and then continued to forecheck Waterloo which prevented them from pulling their goaltender for an extra attacker in the dieing minutes. The Wolves’ players exploded with emotion after the game and swarmed goaltender JOEL VIENNEAU who was the game’s first star and made 42 saves for the shut-out. McAdam made 31 saves for TEAM USA.
Once again, the Wolves’ penalty killing was flawless as the Wolves killed-off five USA power plays. The Wolves were 1 for 4 on the power play. There was over 5,000 fans in attendance for the championship final game played at the OMSK arena.
KHL President Alex Medvedev and Team Canada great Phil Esposito visited the Wolves dressing room after the game and congratulated the team. The two celebrities also presented the GOLD MEDALS to the Wolves’ players.
“Wow, what a game” said an elated Head Coach Trent Cull after the game. “That was probably one of the best hockey games we have played in a long time. It was end to end action and I have to hand it to Waterloo, they came to play and really showed what they are made of. Josh Leivo is a game breaker for us and he did it all again. Joel Vienneau gave us a chance to win the game with some outstanding stops. This truly was play-off hockey in August and a great experience for our players and organization.”
Wolves’ Owner Mark Burgess was elated with the team’s success at the international event. “It was great to represent Canada at the junior club level and to play against all of the top junior clubs from around the world. I applaud Alex Medvedev’s vision of creating the WORLD JUNIOR CLUB Championship. It was a great experience for my family and our organization and we were thrilled to be a part of it.”
“I believe our fans are in for an exciting season” said Wolves’ President Blaine Smith. “We wanted to gauge our players and our team at this tournament and it was great to see how the boys came together so quickly and elevated their game against some of the top junior teams.” Smith also commented on the fine performance by the team’s two import draft selections DOMINIK KUBALIK and DOMINIK KAHUN. “These two young men are going to be a lot of fun to watch this season. They play extremely well together and they will provide us with an offensive shot-in-the-arm.” Both 17 year old forwards had a strong showing the event. The Wolves were the only team to have 16 year players on their roster and CONOR CUMMINS, FRANCESCO VILARDI and CONNOR BURGESS played well and gained some valuable experience.
The Wolves were also recipients of a couple of individual awards. JOSH LEIVO was the tournament’s top scorer with 11 points in 6 games. MICHAEL KANTOR was voted as the tournament’s TOP FORWARD. KANTOR had an outstanding tournament and led the team offensively and defensively with some thunderous hits.
The Wolves ownership, management and players celebrated on the ice and in the dressing room after the game. The custom designed JR. CLUB WORLD CUP trophy made the trek back to Sudbury with the team and will be on display for all fans to see when the Wolves open their regular season on Friday, September 21st vs the Oshawa Generals. The unique Russian-designed trophy weighs just under 100 lbs.
The Wolves players will now take a few days off after 33 hours of travel time on Monday and will get ready for the team’s training camp weekend which begins September 1, 2012.
The team would like to extend sincere thanks to all of the well-wishers that sent the players and the organization messages of encouragement and support throughout the 10 day event. The Wolves will be planning some special promotions this year with the team’s valued season ticket holders revolving around the JR. CLUB WORLD CUP trophy.