On January 5, Team USA defeated Team Canada 2-0 in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship game to take home the gold. Team Canada took home the silver medal and Team Finland defeated Team Russia by a score of 4-1 to take home the bronze medal.
The World Junior Championships is a yearly tournament lasting about 10 days, teams playing up to 7 games in these 10 days. The tournament consists of the best players under 20 in the world, the top NHL prospects. Some of the players in this tournament have already been drafted while others are aiming to make it to that next level.
Team USA had an interesting route to the final. They opened group play with a 5-3 loss to Russia setting them back. They bounced back the next game with a 11-0 statement win against Austria. Team USA would continue to be a dominant force in the tournament winning the rest of their games.
Senior Jacob Stokes explained, “It was really cool to see how they started the tournament and then too see how it ended.”
Going into the tournament Team Canada was the heavy favorite with top prospects such as Bowmen Byram, a 4th overall pick in 2019, Kirby Dack, a 3rd overall pick in 2019, and Quinton Byfield, a 2nd overall pick in 2020. Team Canada opened up their play with a statement 16-2 win over Germany and continued to dominate up until the Championship game.
Some were saying that Team Canada hadn’t had any real competition until the championship game when they played Team USA. They scored over 30 goals in their first 4 games but couldn’t get around Team USA’s defense lead by the 14th overall pick in the 2019 draft Cam York.
Team USA’s top players in the tournament included Cam York, the captain of the team, The 15th overall pick in the 2019 draft Cole Caufield, and the 9th overall pick in the 2019 draft Trevor Zegras.
This tournament happens yearly usually during the NHL season. This year the tournament served as an opening act for the NHL. Because of the pandemic the NHL pushed back the start of their season. This led to more people tuning in and watching this tournament.
Senior Tyler Antanellis stated, “The tournament is always fun to watch, but especially this year where there wasn’t any other Hockey on.”
This was team USA’s 5th world juniors Championship in 44 years that the tournament has been around. Next year’s team is going to look very different from this year’s team however, team USA always has a dominant roster. This year’s team faced some adversity but ended up bringing home the gold.