Kreider and Team USA Bring Home The Gold

On Tuesday night, former Andover hockey player Chris Kreider sent a screaming wrist shot just over the glove of Canada’s goalie to put USA on the board in the Gold Medal game of the IIHF Junior World Championship Tournament. After three periods of regulation and one overtime, Kreider received his gold medal and hoisted the championship trophy after the 6-5 victory for his home country. “Winning gold was just amazing. It’s a high you don’t come down from. I’m just on cloud nine right now,” he said. Every year the International Ice Hockey Federation holds a tournament for players under twenty years old. The top ten ranked teams in the world are invited to put together a team to compete for the Junior World Championship. After weeks of tryouts during the summer and late this fall, Kreider was selected to represent the United States in the tournament. In the tournament, Kreider showed the world why he deserved to be selected by the Rangers in the first round of the NHL Draft, despite not playing at the Juniors level during high school. The talented forward excelled in Saskatoon, Canada, leading the United States in goals with six. Kreider scored his first goal of the tournament against Switzerland in USA’s second game. In the team’s next game, a 12-1 rout of Latvia, Kreider led the scoring party with a hat trick. He scored his fifth goal of the tournament in a quarterfinal victory over Finland. After a 5-2 win against Sweden in the semifinals, Kreider opened up the Championship game with his sixth goal and final goal of the tournament. Kreider said, “My teammates are the ones that can take credit for my goals. They put me in great positions to score, and I probably should have scored more goals considering how well they played. They were just so skilled, and they could do things with the puck that I couldn’t imagine doing.” Not only did Kreider appreciate playing with his teammates, but he also enjoyed meeting new kids from around the country. “It was awesome to meet and play with all these players from different backgrounds and teams. It was an amazing experience coming together and sharing one common goal,” he said. The team came together quickly and went 3-1 in pool play, its only blemish a 5-4 shootout loss to Canada. This record earned the team a spot in the playoffs. After the victories over Finland and Sweden, the team found itself in the Championship game in a rematch against Canada. After Canada scored first to take a 1-0 lead in the game, Kreider received a pass on the left side near the blue line. He then fired his top shelf wrister past the goalie who had no time to react to the puck. He then let out a celebratory scream as his teammates surrounded him. Kreider said, “To score in the championship game was surreal. I got a great pass from my teammate, and I just tried to get a good shot on net. I wasn’t expecting it to go in, but I hit the right spot.” With the help of Kreider’s goal, the United States beat the previously undefeated Canadian team in overtime to earn the gold medal. “It’s impossible to put into words how I felt after the game. I may never get the opportunity to represent my country at this level of play again. To come home with the gold medal is a dream come true,” he said. The championship win didn’t come easily. “Not only was the competition unbelievable, but the fans are crazy up here. Not many people know about the tournament in the US, but in Canada, it’s a huge deal. We were seen as the adversary, and we were booed constantly. It’s just crazy as an eighteen year old to play in front of an entire country,” said Kreider. After he comes home from Canada, Kreider will rejoin Boston College as the second ranked team in the Hockey East League looks to get a high seed in the national tournament. He has played a role in the team’s success thus far this season, scoring 8 points in his first 16 collegiate games. Despite all his success in the world and collegiate levels, Kreider misses his teammates and coaches at Andover. He said, “I always wonder what would have happened had I stayed at Andover. I miss playing with those guys.” Andover Hockey is thinking of him as well. Andover Coach Dean Boylan said, “All of us in the Andover hockey program are very proud of Chris and all of his accomplishments. He was very excited to be on the Juniors team, and it’s great to see him win the gold medal.”