The 2019 Nation’s Cup Tier-II tournament over Thanksgiving weekend proved to be the biggest and best yet in the series between the U.S. and Canada. The two countries squared off across 21 divisions with USA capturing a slight edge in total, taking the Cup in 13 divisions while Canada claimed eight. Take a look at who took the Nation’s Cup and how each country got it done at each of the divisions below.
The 16U-15U Division was decided by just a half of a point, as the U.S. totaled 6.5 points in Sunday’s matchups to claim the championship. Three of the five games resulted in ties, but it was Rogue Hockey’s 3-1 win in the 2-vs-2 matchup worth four points that proved to be the determining factor in winning the division for USA.
Canada would carry points in five of the six games on Sunday, earning the 16U Girls’ Division championship. Victories in each of the first four games tallied up enough points to clinch the Nation’s Cup with two games to spare, as Peterborough’s 6-2 win worth four points in the standings would seal the deal for the Canadians.
The 14U Girls’ Division came down to the final game between AYR Rockets and Little Caesars, as Canada carried a slight 6-5 edge in points prior to the matchup. A 4-2 win by Little Caesars, however, would earn the U.S. the championship in thrilling fashion in front of a packed crowd at Novi Ice Arena.
Separated by three points in the standings and with five points on the line in the 1-vs-1 matchup between the Northwest Chargers and Burlington Eagles, the 05 Gold Division would be decided in the final contest. The championship would go in favor of the Chargers, as they did just enough to earn the victory for USA.
Canada took the first matchup of the 05 Silver Division with Lambeth defeating South Hills 5-3 Sunday morning. However, USA would rattle off wins in the next five straight games to earn the edge and win the championship in dominating fashion.
Back-to-back wins in the four-point game and five-point game by Glen Elyn and Cleveland pulled off a comeback win for USA in the 05 Bronze Division. It proved to be one of the most balanced divisions of the tournament, with a 9-6-5 record through pool play in favor of the U.S.
The 06 Gold Division started out in favor of the U.S., with American teams taking four of the first five games. However, victories by Cambridge Hawks and Ajax Knights in the 2-vs-2 and 1-vs-1 matchups respectively, took the win back for Canada to claim the championship.
USA made a clean sweep of the 06 Silver Division, winning all seven Sunday matchups to shut out Canada. While on the surface, it comes off as a dominant performance by the U.S., five of those seven games were decided by three goals or fewer in competitive Sunday contests.
The five-game series to determine the 06 Bronze Division went right down to the wire with Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles and Waterloo Wolves Black battling for the final five points in the standings. USA carried a slight 6-4 edge in points prior to the 1-vs-1 matchup, but the Wolves’ 3-2 win would earn Canada the final points and championship.
Pool play in the 07 Gold Division finished completely even, with a 14-14-4 record between the two countries through Saturday’s games. The championship series on the final day of the tournament would be handled by the U.S. though, as the Americans ripped off six consecutive wins between the 7-vs-7 and 2-vs-2 matchups to clinch the championship.
Canada won crucial matchups in the 5-vs-5, 4-vs-4 and 3-vs-3 games by Flamborough-Dundas, Barrie Colts Blue and Guelph to win the 07 Silver Division championship. The Barrie Colts White 4-1 win in the finale capped off Canada’s performance.
Separated by one point heading into the final matchup, Canada carried a slight edge over USA in the 07 Bronze Division. A 3-2 win by the Cincinnati Swords over Barrie Colts would earn the U.S. the championship in the final game at John Lindell Ice Arena.
In the largest division of the tournament, the 08 Gold Division matchups had 55 points up for grabs on the final day of the weekend. Countries alternated victories in the final four matchups as the standings lead bounced back and forth, before the Milton Winterhawks’ and Compuware skated to a 3-3 tie, earning the deciding five points and championship in favor of USA.
Just one win separated the two countries in 08 Silver Division pool play, with a 14-13-5 record in favor of the Americans. On Sunday, crucial wins by Cheektowaga, Affton, Toledo and Fire Wagon would compile enough points for the U.S. to clinch the championship before Team Ohio finished off the tournament with a 5-3 win over Riverside.
Canada controlled the eight-team 08 Bronze Division going 3-0-1 on championship Sunday. Milton Winterhawks White went 5-0 on the weekend, posting four shutouts in five games including a 1-0 win over Columbus in the 1-vs-1 matchup.
In the 09 Gold Division, Canada’s victories in six of the seven Sunday matchups clinched the championship. The Oshawa Generals got things rolling for their country in the 7-vs-7 matchup, with Ajax, Milton, Kent, Tecumseh and the Soo keeping it in Canada’s favor.
The U.S. and Canada would tie 2-2 in a matchup between Tampa and Humber Valley to begin Sunday’s matchups in the 09 Silver Division. Canadian teams would rip off wins in the next seven straight games, however, en route to a commanding championship victory.
The 09 Bronze Division finale ended in a 4-4 tie, with the Eastside Bulldogs and Waterloo Wolves splitting the five points. That split would be the only points USA picked up in the five matchups on Sunday though, as Canada won the rest of the outings to claim a decisive championship.
Canada won the first four Sunday matchups of the 10 Gold Division to take a commanding 10-point lead in the standings race. Wins by the Columbus Capitals, PSM Force and Naperville Sabres in the final three matchups would swing the pendulum back in favor of the U.S., as the Americans earned the champions with an 18-10 advantage in points.
The final game of the 10 Silver Division proved to be the deciding contest between St. Jude and Woolwich. Canada had a 10-5 advantage prior to the matchup, but a 3-2 win worth six points in favor of St. Jude proved to be just enough for the U.S. to eek out the win in the game and the series.
Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles earned the 2-1 victory over Milton in the 10 Bronze Division 1-vs-1 matchup. However, prior wins by Oakville, Oakridge and Riverside compiled enough points for Canada to clinch the win, giving the Canadians the championship.
With 256 teams in this year’s event, the Nation’s Cup series has grown to be one of our biggest tournaments of the year while also being the most unique in nature. While both complex and competitive, the Nation’s Cup pits some of the best teams from the U.S. and Canada against each other in a thrilling tournament format unlike any other event in youth sports. Learn more about the Nation’s Cup HERE.