Edmonton's sports 'bubble' has seen a lot of important hockey over the past few months. Back in September, it hosted the 2020 Stanley Cup that saw the Tampa Bay Lightning win their second-ever title. And last night, the 2021 IIHF Under 20 World Hockey Championships came to a conclusion there with the gold and bronze medal games. The overall winner?
That would be Team USA, who defeated Canada 2–0 in a tense and tight game. Team Finland beat Russia 4–1 to capture bronze.
Team USA A-OK
The American team had one of the best records at the tournament, as well as the overall leading scorer, forward Trevor Zegras. They were very worthy winners, using a strong team game that seemed to overwhelm Canada.
After a brief flurry of shots for Canada, the Americans used pressure and a ferocious attack to grind down their opponents. This helped them lead in both shots on goal and goals after two periods. Their opening goal was thanks to centre Alex Turcotte, and then they got a quick goal from Zegras. That turned out to be more than they needed to capture their country's fifth-ever gold medal at this tournament.
Canada falls after impressive tournament
With the gold medal on the line, Team Canada really turned it on against their opponents in the third period. They recorded 15 shots on goal to only one for the US. But they simply couldn't find a way to score on goalie Spencer Knight.
For Canada, it was a bitter way to end what had been an unbelievable tournament for them. In their previous games they had outscored opponents by a stunning 41 goals to 4. And they hadn't been scored on once in 5-on-5 play (these means that all of those 4 goals against them had been scored on a power play). In other words, they were playing not just good, but great hockey.
But they also hadn't yet faced the Americans. "It was the first team that really pushed back against us in the first period," Canada head coach Andre Tourigny told TSN. "We weren't used to it and took quite a bit of time to get back at it."
All in all, Canada still had a tournament to be proud of. And we're sure that players like Connor McMichael, Quinton Byfield, and Dylan Cozens all have exciting futures ahead of them in the NHL one day.
Congrats Team USA! See everyone next year, hopefully outside of a bubble!