USA Downs Canada, 2-0, To Win Gold at World Juniors
The U.S. National Junior Team, behind 34 saves from Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.) and goals from Trevor Zegras (Bedford, N.Y.) and Alex Turcotte (Chicago, Ill.), beat Canada, 2-0, in the gold-medal game of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship. It was the fifth gold medal for the United States in the tournament and the fifth time in the last six years that Team USA has medaled in the event, the best medal stretch in the nation’s history.
“I’m very proud of this group of guys, we really came together as a team over the course of this tournament. We played a great Canadian team today and we’re very fortunate to have beat them. I’m proud of how this team played together. This will be a memory they have forever.” – Head Coach Nate Leaman (East Greenwich, R.I.)
Team USA scored the only goal of the opening period at 12:25 when Turcotte deflected one home off Drew Helleson’s (Farmington, Minn.) shot from the far right point. The goal came after sustained pressure in the Canadian zone by the U.S. that spanned over multiple shifts. The U.S. was outshot 7-4 in the first 10 minutes of the period, but over the next five minutes took control and outshot the hosts by an 8-1 count. Knight was sharp in the opening stanza and made nine saves, including two on the only power play of the period.
Zegras staked the U.S. to a 2-0 lead just :32 into the second period when he took the carom off the end boards of an Arthur Kaliyev (Staten Island, N.Y.) shot the went wide and backhanded it in at the right side of the goal. Kaliyev had two great chances on Team USA’s first power play of the game near the mid-point of the period, but Canada netminder Devon Levi was up to the challenge. Canada pressured in the back half of the period, but Knight stopped all 10 shots on goal in the stanza, including a point blank save on Connor Zary at the goal mouth with just more than two minutes left in the middle frame.
Knight stood tall in the third period stopping all 15 shots Canada put on goal, including several point blank chances. It was the third shutout for Knight in the tournament and the fourth for Team USA.