Team USA completed an epic run at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, topping Canada, 2-0, to win the gold medal in Edmonton Tuesday night.
To win gold, the Americans went through a juggernaut. Team Canada featured a lineup with an astounding 19 first-round draft choices. They had yet to surrender a 5-on-5 goal in the tournament coming into the final. They had outscored their opponents 41-4 along the way.
Center Alex Turcotte got things going for Team USA, scoring a little over six minutes into the first to stake his team to a 1-0 lead and puncturing Canada's 5-on-5 wall that had stymied so many teams along the way.
In the opening minute of the second period, center Trevor Zegras, who would finish as tournament MVP with a World Junior Championship leading 18 points (7-11), scooped a puck off the backboards and went backhand, shelf to make it 2-0, Americans.
From there, Team USA goalie Spencer Knight went to work, finishing with 34 saves, including several huge ones in the final period as Canada was trying to get back into it. His shutout marks the first time ever that Team Canada has been shutout in a gold medal game. He would finish the tournament with three shutouts, the most ever by an American in a World Junior Championship.
“Shutouts don't mean anything to me,” Knight said after the win. “I really don't care about individual numbers. Especially in these short tournaments. It doesn't mean anything. In that locker room, everyone was just focused on getting the win and winning the gold. No one was worried about their individual stats – how many goals, assists, or for me, how shutouts. Everyone just wanted to win this game and get a gold medal wrapped around our necks.”
The gold medal-winning American team even featured some Ohio flavor. Head coach Nate Leaman is a Centerville, Ohio native, and assistant coach Steve Miller is the associate head coach at Ohio State.