Canada came into Tuesday night’s Gold Medal game the heavy favorites to win a second-consecutive World Juniors Championship. They’d gone undefeated in the six previous games, twice scoring in the double digits. Though USA Hockey had three shut outs in the tournament, they lost to Russia in the preliminary round, and had a close call against Finland in Monday night’s semifinal.
Once again, USA goaltender Spencer Knight was on the top of his game, making a perfect 34/34 saves. Canada didn’t make it easy on Knight, with a 34-21 shot share. Team USA was held to just six shots in the second period and one shot in the third, but Canada couldn’t break Knight.
Alex Turcotte struck first for the US, scoring just over halfway through the first period. A feed from Trevor Zegras met Drew Helleson at the point and Turcotte tipped in his shot up front. Zegras himself stuck next, just thirty seconds into the second period. Bo Byram, Quinton Byfield and Braden Schneider all had their own chances in the second in third periods, but all USA Hockey needed to do was hold on.
Trevor Zegras was named the 2021 World Juniors Most Valuable Player, after leading scoring with 18 points.
This game marked a record-setting 12th shutout in a single U20 World Juniors Championship tournament.
The Anaheim Ducks had five prospects in the Gold Medal game. Defender Jamie Drysdale, the sixth-overall pick by the Ducks in 2020, was the lone representative on Team Canada. He tallied two assists over the tournament’s seven games and skated a +11.
Four Anaheim prospects made Team USA: forwards Zegras and Sam Colangelo and defenders Jackson LaCombe and Henry Thrun. Zegras topped all three scoring measures with his seven goals and 11 assists. Colangelo scored one goal, while LaCombe and Thrun each tallied an assist.
Ducks prospects Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale, as well as Los Angeles Kings prospects Quinton Byfield, Alex Turcotte, Arthur Kaliyev and Tobias Bjornfot (who played for Sweden and lost in the Quarterfinal), will take a chartered flight together to join their respective NHL camps in Southern California. Because they’ve been in a bubble and subject to regular testing while in Edmonton for World Juniors and will not be taking a commercial flight, they likely will not be subject to a seven-day quarantine upon arriving in the United States, per NHL/NHLPA protocols.
LaCombe will return to the undefeated Minnesota Gophers NCAA hockey program, and Thrun will re-join the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL.