Four members of the Waterloo Black Hawks organization will have some special hardware to show off during the Christmas break as they gather with family and friends.
Forwards Griffin Ness and Connor Caponi, Associate Head Coach Shane Fukushima, and Strength and Conditioning Coach/Equipment Manager Spenser Popinga were all part of the United States’ gold medal-winning effort during the 2018 World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, Alberta.
The American team – made up entirely of USHL players and staff – earned the gold medal on Sunday with a 2-0 shutout of Russia. The Russian team had not been beaten during the event, including a 4-3 win versus the U.S. just two days earlier in the final game of the preliminary stage for both countries.
During the annual event, the U.S. squad has now won gold in eight of the 12 years they have participated.
Ness recorded two goals during the six-game tournament. The most notable was his overtime-winner on Saturday evening versus Canada West. That goal boosted the U.S. to a 3-2 win and into Sunday’s championship game. Ness’ other goal also came versus Canada West in the first game of the preliminary stage; on that occasion, it was the only American score in a 2-1 shootout loss.
Caponi notched one assist during the trip. He recorded that point to help the U.S. to a 4-1 win versus Czech Republic last Tuesday.
The Hawks' Matej Blumel also played during the games in Bonnyville. Blumel led Czech Republic with six points (two goals, four assists). The Czechs fell in Sunday's Bronze Medal game versus Canada West, 3-1.
The Black Hawks return from the USHL’s holiday break for a matchup on the road December 27th versus the Sioux Falls Stampede.