EDMONTON, Alta. – Canada’s National Junior Team fell 2-0 to the United States in the gold medal game Tuesday night at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, the 48th meeting between the cross-border rivals.
Despite a 34-21 advantage in shots on goal – including 15-1 in the third period – and 19 saves from standout goaltender Devon Levi (Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que./Northeastern University, HE), the Canadians finished with the silver medal for the 12th time in World Juniors history.
Alex Turcotte and Trevor Zegras scored the goals for the Americans, while Spencer Knight turned aside all 34 shots he faced to record the shutout.
A full game summary and recap can be found at HockeyCanada.ca.
“We didn’t have the start we wanted; they got up on us and we just couldn’t buy a couple of goals,” said Bowen Byram (Cranbrook, B.C./Vancouver, WHL). “We definitely had our chances and we’re still very proud of our group and how we played throughout the tournament.”
“Going into the third we have to believe we can tie the game, that’s the only way we stand a chance,” said Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, Y.T./Lethbridge, WHL). “I think we had our looks – [Spencer] Knight played great, he stopped lots of pucks - we just didn’t get the bounces.
“I’m super proud of this group. We spent 53 days together living in hotels, battling every day in camp, 19 days of quarantine without seeing anyone. We came together so fast without being able to see each other, we battled, played every game so hard and obviously it just didn’t go in our favour tonight.”
Following the tournament, which was played without fans for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Levi was named Top Goaltender by the IIHF directorate. He finished with six wins, a 0.75 goals-against average and .964 save percentage, all numbers that led or co-led the tournament.
Levi was also named to the media all-star team, joining Byram and Cozens, who led the Canadians with 16 points, the most since Brayden Schenn had 18 in 2011.
“I’m proud of our guys. We had 10 to 12 minutes during the game where we went away from our style of play, but if you look at the game and the scoring chances, you will see we did a lot of good things, and the second half of the game we controlled the puck,” said head coach André Tourigny (Nicolet, Que./Ottawa, OHL). “If you look back at only the score you might think we left something on the table. If we look back at the effort, the push back and the pride our players showed in the second half of the game, I cannot be anything but proud of our team.”
Canada finished atop Group A with wins over Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland and Finland, outscoring its opponents 33-4. It booked a spot in the gold medal game with back-to-back shutout wins over the Czech Republic (3-0) in the quarterfinals and Russia (5-0) in the semifinals.
Canada has captured 18 gold medals at the IIHF World Junior Championship (1982, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2015, 2018, 2020), 12 silver (1975, 1976, 1977, 1986, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2017, 2021) and six bronze (1974, 1978, 1983, 2000, 2001, 2012).
The tournament will return to Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., next year when the cities co-host the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
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