STATISTICS: UNITED STATES 2, CANADA 0
EDMONTON, Alta. – Devon Levi (Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que./Northeastern
University, HE) finished a Top Goaltender performance with 19 saves and
Canada’s National Junior Team outshot the United States 34-21, but it
couldn’t find the back of the net in a 2-0 gold medal game loss Tuesday
night at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.
It’s the 12th silver medal for the Canadians and their first since falling
5-4 in a shootout to the Americans in the final of the 2017 tournament in
Down by a pair of goals heading into the third period the Canadians
dominated, outshooting the U.S. 15-1 over the final 20 minutes, but they
couldn’t find a way past American netminder Spencer Knight, who recorded
his third shutout of the tournament (tying the single-tournament record
that Levi equalled Monday in the semifinals).
“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.
The Canadians came out with jump off the opening face-off, testing Knight
early, but couldn’t get a quick goal as they had in all six of their
Instead it was the U.S. that broke the ice; after a long stretch in the
Canadian zone, Alex Turcotte redirected a feed from Drew Helleson over the
glove of Levi at 13:25.
The goal was the first allowed by the Canadians at even strength in the
tournament and ended Levi’s shutout streak at 148 minutes and 20 seconds,
just 3:30 shy of the Canadian record set by Justin Pogge in 2006.
Trevor Zegras, who named World Juniors MVP following the game, added a
second goal just 32 seconds into the second period, catching Levi looking
the wrong way and tucking in a backhand.
Canada started to take the momentum midway through the middle frame,
finishing the second period with a 10-7 edge in shots, but still went into
the intermission facing a two-goal deficit.
Bowen Byram (Cranbrook, B.C./Vancouver, WHL) had the best chance, driving
to the net on a shorthanded scamper and beating Knight, but not the post.
The third period was played almost exclusively in the American end with
Knight under siege. Canada did everything except score, peppering the
American goaltender with shot after shot as they pressed to get one back.
But it was not to be, leaving the Canadians with a second-place finish.
“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. “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.”
Following the game, Levi was announced as Top Goaltender after a sterling
performance throughout the tournament. He set all-time Canadian records for
goals-against average (0.75) and save percentage (.964), and tied the marks
for wins (six) and shutouts (three).
He also earned a place on the media all-star team alongside Byram and Cozens, who finished second in
tournament scoring with 16 points, the most by a Canadian since Brayden
Schenn had 18 in 2011.
“I’m super proud of this group," Cozens said. "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.”
The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship will be played in Edmonton and Red
Deer next December.