2021 World Junior Championship Gold Medal Game Preview: Canada vs. USA

For the fifth time in history and the first time since 2017, Team Canada and Team USA will face against one another in the gold medal game. The last time these two went head to head in search of the gold, the USA remained undefeated in the tournament (5-2-0) and triumphed over Canada in a 5-4 shootout victory. While Canada won the gold the following year and again in 2020, they look to get revenge on the USA for the devastating shootout loss in 2017.

While both teams have rightfully earned their spot in the championship, USA comes in as the underdog as Canada is the only team to remain undefeated this tournament. All eyes, however, fall upon Dylan Cozens, who leads Team Canada with eight goals and eight assists. Similarly, Canadian goaltender Devon Levi, who leads the tournament in save percentage (.975) and goals against average (0.53), looks to shutdown USA’s first line that has continued to produce for them. On the other end of the ice, American goaltender Spencer Knight, who had a shaky start after getting pulled in a 5-3 loss to Russia, must come up big for his team and help fend off Canada’s dominant offense.

While Canada comes in with a fiery offense and a hard driven defense, Team USA is a force to be reckon with as well. American forward Trevor Zegras is tied with Dylan Cozens for the most points (16) and has been a key factor in USA’s success. Similarly, the Zegras, Turcotte, and Kaliyev line has arguably been the best in the tournament, producing a total of 30 points thus far for Team USA. The Americans are hoping for this line to finish strong and produce for the team in hopes of leaving the bubble with the gold.

One advantage the USA maintains over Canada is that of the power play; USA has a 42.86 power play percentage in comparison to Canada’s 33.33%. Overall, however, Canada leads in goals for (41) while the USA trails (34). Both teams remain relatively close in varying statistics, one barely edging the other in many categories, so this game will ultimately come down to effort, grit, and a little bit of puck luck.

Despite all odds being in favor of Team Canada, Team USA has a solid chance of taking home the gold, especially with the momentum from their thrilling 4-3 win last night against Finland. Puck drop is set for 9:30 PM EST at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta.

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