2021 WJC GAME DAY THREAD: CANADA (6-0-0-0) vs. USA (5-0-0-1) JAN. 5th, 2021 9:30pm EST TSN
Canada looks to win consecutive gold medals tonight at the 2021 World Junior Championships tonight in Edmonton, Alberta. Canada secured their berth in the gold medal game with a dominating 5-0 victory over Russia last night. The Canadian team pounced on the Russian team right from the faceoff and Alex Newhook wired a shot into the middle crossbar after 59 seconds of play. Canada never looked back after that start and dominated play throughout the game and goaltender Devon Levi posted his 3rd shutout of the tournament, tying former Leaf prospect Justin Pogge’s record for shutouts in the tournament. Canada executed its aggressive forecheck game plan to perfection against Russia and there should be little or no change in their game plan for tonight’s game. Canada’s Dylan Cozens continued his stellar offensive play against Russia, scoring a goal and adding two assists for 16 points in 6 games played. Right there with Cozens in the tournament scoring lead is USA forward Trevor Zegras who has 6 goals and 10 assists.
The American team emerged from the tougher Pool B side as the top seed and defeated Slovakia 5-2 in their quarter-final matchup to set up last night’s semi-final game versus Finland. The Americans took control of the game for 2 periods and held a 3-1 lead after 2. However the Finns fought back and Leaf prospect Roni Hirvonen tied the game with his 2nd goal of the tournament with just over 3 minutes to play. Then with 1:16 to go in the 3rd, USA forward Alex Turcotte fed a beautiful pass to Arthur Kaliyev in the slot and he punched it into the top corner of the net to stun the Finns and send the American team into the gold medal game versus Canada.
Canada’s defensive game has been operating at as high a level as its offence though. They have a goal differential of 41-4 and depending on the outcome of tonight’s game could set a new tournament record for goals against. The previous record is 6 goals against set by the Canadian team in the 2006 tournament. Devon Levi will get the start in net for Canada and Spencer Knight will be in the net for USA. Canada will be tested defensively by the talented American team and they will have to pay special attention to the playmaking ability of Zegras. Canada has not trailed in a game yet this tournament, so they will be playing with a lot of confidence tonight. Canada looks to be the first team to win consecutive gold medals since they held a streak of five straight from 2005 to 2009. It should be a great game tonight with lots of drama. Canada should be the favourite, but their cross-border rivals won’t be easy to vanquish. Enjoy the game.