McDonald enjoyed time with Team Canada, despite early elimination

Jason Malloy
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Mason McDonald returned home from Finland without the gold medal he had hoped for, but with memories he won’t soon forget.

The Charlottetown Islanders goalie played the first two games for Canada at the world junior hockey championship. Canada was eliminated in the quarter-final, failing to reach the semifinal for the first time since 1998.

“It’s disappointing that we didn’t get to medal,” McDonald said Wednesday before his first practice back with the Islanders. “That’s the expectation of Hockey Canada – it’s gold every year and we didn’t fulfill that.”

McDonald earned Canada’s only regulation win in Finland, a 6-1 victory over Denmark after starting the tournament with a 4-2 loss to the United States on Boxing Day. He admitted there was a lot of pressure with the weight of the country watching in person or on TV.

“I really realized it the day before the Boxing Day game,” McDonald said. “I got a good sleep that night, but the next day I tried to take my nap and I was just shaking. I was so excited and nervous. . .

“When I stepped on the ice it kind of all went away. It was like a thrill ride and it was really awesome.”

Canada was tied 2-2 with the Americans with less than four minutes to play. The winner was accidentally deflected past McDonald by Canadian defenceman Joe Hicketts. Forty-one seconds later a puck was tipped by a Canadian player and got past McDonald.

“At the end of the day there was some bad bounces and it’s unfortunate it unfolded like that, but there’s nothing you can do, you just have to move on,” McDonald said.

After defeating Denmark, McDonald was relegated to the bench with the return of Mackenzie Blackwood from suspension.

“Being apart of the team was all that matter to me,” McDonald said. “I wanted the gold medal, just like they all did, and I was going to do whatever it took.”

Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. Some undisciplined penalties cost Canada in their final game of the tournament against the eventual champs from Finland.

“I don’t think we reached our full potential,” McDonald said. “It’s unfortunate in a short tournament you can’t regroup like a 70-game season.”

The Calgary Flames draft pick said his attention has quickly turned to his club team. He arrived home Sunday and rejoined the Islanders Tuesday in Halifax.

“I’m exciting to get back,” McDonald said. “It’s going to be an interesting second half. Hopefully we can climb up in the standings.”

Organizations: Islanders, Team Canada, Calgary Flames

Geographic location: Canada, Finland, Denmark United States Halifax

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