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, here tonight 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,” said head coach Nate Leaman (East Greenwich, R.I.). “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.”
The Team USA roster includes Golden Gopher players Brock Faber of Maple Grove, Jackson LaCombe of Eden Prairie, and Ryan Johnson of Irvine, California. Farmington native Drew Helleson of Boston College and Minnetonka’s Bobby Brink of Denver are also on the US roster. In addition, Minnesota Wild prospect Matthew Boldy of Mills, Massachusetts is on the American team.
Team USA scored the only goal of the opening period at 12:25 when Alex Turcotte (Chicago, Ill.) 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. Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.) was sharp in the opening stanza and made nine saves, including two on the only power play of the period.
Trevor Zegras (Bedford, N.Y.) 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.
NOTES: Spencer Knight was named the U.S. Player of the Game … Trevor Zegras was named Most Valuable Player of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship … Team USA’s top three players of the tournament were Trevor Zegras, Spencer Knight, and Cam York …. Canada outshot the U.S., 34-21 … Both teams were 0-for-1 on the power play … The U.S. had the first shutout in the gold-medal game since 2012 … Team USA medaled in the IIHF World Junior Championship for the fifth time in the last six years, the best medal stretch in the history of the country … The U.S. won its fifth gold medal in the IIHF World Junior Championship, with the previous four coming in 2017, 2013, 2010 and 2004 … Trevor Zegras captured the IIHF World Junior Championship scoring title with 7-11—18.
(info/story courtesy of USA Hockey)