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The USA won the final of the weeklong Jewish World Ice Hockey Championship on Friday, defeating Israel by a slender 2-1 margin at the Canada Center in Metulla.
Earlier Friday, Canada swept to a 4-1 win over France in the third place playoff.
Dov Grumet-Morris gave the US a 1-0 lead after 10 minutes of the final. It looked like Israel would be unable to penetrate the American defense, but six seconds before the end of the first period Eugeni Gusin grabbed the equalizer, delighting the packed stands.
However, only two minutes into the second period, Noah Rudin slashed in a second goal for the Americans which proved to be the winner.
Alan Maislin, chairman of the Israel Ice Hockey Federation, said he believed that the success of the championship would be a forerunner for ice hockey to be included in the Maccabi Games.
At the prize-giving ceremony Metulla mayor Jacob Katz, backed Maislin's belief.
"Four wonderful teams came and played, with the Israeli team providing a surprise, and this will only strengthen the determination that in another three years the Maccabi Games will see a playoff on ice as well," Katz said.
Chairman of the US team Caleb Koeppel received the winner's trophy.
The outstanding player award was given to Nathan Davis of the USA. Israel's Eugenie Gusin was named best goalie, Canadian Oriel McHugh was best defense and best forward was Oren Eisenman of Israel. A tribute was also paid to Oren Zamir of Israel who was on a scholarship for ice hockey in Canada and returned home to Metulla to do his army service in a fighting unit.
Mickey Levy of the Canadian team summed the week up for all the participants before he went forward with his team to receive his bronze medal.
"This has been an unbelievable experience," he said.