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 Los Angeles Kings had five prospects in the Gold Medal game. Quinton Byfield and Jordan Spence played for Canada. Byfield ranked fifth on the team in seven games in points with seven (two goals, five assists), while Spence tallied one goal.
Second-round selections Arthur Kaliyev and Brock Faber, along with first-rounder Alex Turcotte won Gold with Team USA. Kaliyev and Turcotte tied for second on the team in scoring with three goals and five assists each. Faber also had five assists.
Kings prospects Byfield, Turcotte, Kaliyev and Tobias Bjornfot (who played for Sweden and lost in the Quarterfinal), as well as Anaheim Ducks prospects Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale, 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.