And on the 12th day, the Hockey Gods gifted us with the right ending to the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship — Canada versus the US with a gold medal on the road.

“This present day has been marked on all of our calendars since being right here,” mentioned Newfoundland’s Alex Newhook after his aim 59 seconds in was the eventual game-winner in opposition to Russia within the semis. “To lastly be right here and see that the work we put in is paid off to this level. It is thrilling.”

Canada has steamrolled by the competitors up to now: The group’s allowed simply 4 objectives  — all on the ability play — on 124 photographs by its first six video games. It achieved three shutouts with the final two coming within the quarterfinals (3-Zero vs. Czechs) and semis (5-Zero vs. Russia). Netminder Devon Levi has been on fireplace (reminder: the Quebec goalie wasn’t even invited to summer time camp) with a teeny-tiny 0.53 goals-against common and an nearly good .975 save share.

Levi can also be the second Canadian goalie in event historical past to report three shutouts, becoming a member of Justin Pogge who did it in 2006. However he is received different issues on his thoughts.

“I am not enjoying for a shutout report. I am enjoying for a gold medal,” mentioned Levi, after stopping all 28 photographs by Russia. “It is one thing possibly to have a look at after the event, however the job’s not carried out but.”

The group’s offense has additionally been firing on all cylinders. Along with permitting the fewest objectives within the event, they’ve additionally scored probably the most (41), with each skater notching a minimum of a degree. However as head coach Andre Tourigny mentioned Tuesday afternoon, quoting Phil Jackson: “Doesn’t suggest a factor with out the ring.”

And it will not be simple. Whereas hockey pundits are calling this group one in all Canada’s finest in world juniors historical past, the boys from the north now face their stiffest take a look at of your complete event of their southern neighbors.

MORE: How Canada and the U.S. match up for gold-medal sport

Since dropping the lid-lifter to Russia on Christmas Day 5-3, the People went on a tear profitable 5 straight and permitting simply 5 objectives. Netminder’s Dustin Wolf (one) and Spencer Knight posted back-to-back-to-back shutouts with Workforce USA’s shutout streak ending within the quarters in opposition to Slovakia at a World Juniors-record 218:53. Knight and Dustin Wolf additionally mixed for 245:07 of shutout time with a goalie within the web. 

The US additionally brings a potent offense that has notched 34 objectives (second-best to Canada) and a tournament-best 42.86 p.c effectivity on the ability play. Head coach Nate Leaman likes to roll his high three strains, led by the trio of Trevor Zegras, Arthur Kaliyev and Alex Turcotte. Zegras (six objectives, 10 assists), by the way in which, is making his manner up the USA Hockey world junior report books and enters the sport tied with Canada’s Dylan Cozens (eight objectives, eight assists) — doing the identical for Hockey Canada — for the scoring title. 

There’s plenty of historical past coursing by the storylines of this sport.

The 2 stellar netminders, Levi and Knight, who not solely will battle it out tonight will achieve this in Hockey East this season and are each Panthers prospects. Newhook and American Matthew Boldy are roommates at Boston School and Wisconsin’s Dylan Holloway and Cole Caufield will likely be on completely different ends of the rink. The 2021 version can also be the fifth time the 2 nations will sq. off within the final sport with the US profitable three of the final 4 — out of 4. 

“I keep in mind each occasions I used to be watching with my dad and we have been fairly pumped up,” Alex Turcotte mentioned Monday evening when requested whether or not he watched 2010 and 2017. “These are legendary moments on this event for USA hockey and it was superior to observe and to have the ability to play within the Canada-USA gold-medal sport on this event. It is a dream come true and we’re gonna profit from it.”

A gold-medal sport is not something new for Canada; in reality, this 12 months’s group has six returnees — and Tourigny — aiming for back-to-back golds.

“The dying seconds counting down and seeing the clock hit the buzzer and that ultimate aid of profitable the gold medal,” remembered Dawson Mercer of final 12 months’s gold-medal win over Russia. “The celebration with the fellows that is one of the best half. We battled all collectively and if you get to sing your anthem on the blue line, received the gold medal round your neck, it is all reminiscences that can by no means go away. So I am actually trying ahead … to make that occur once more.”

Each groups have been by quite a bit: bubbles and quarantines. Zoom calls, every day COVID-19 testing, and boring meals. Each groups discuss how shut their group has turn into. Each groups have their eyes on the prize.

All of it comes all the way down to this: Canada versus the US. Just one may be golden ultimately. Who will or not it’s? We’ll discover out quickly, so pitter-patter, let’s get at’er.

Sporting Information has all of the motion as Canada and the US go for gold.

(All occasions Jap)

Canada vs. USA rating, highlights from 2021 World Juniors gold-medal sport

First interval: USA 1, Canada 0

10:13 p.m. — The primary interval involves an finish. 

10:12 p.m. — Peyton Krebs with a stable hit within the impartial zone.

10:08 p.m. —  Canada is now 0-for-1 on the ability play.

10:06 p.m. — Massive pad cease by Knight.

10:06 p.m. — Bobby Brink takes an offensive zone penalty. Canada can have an opportunity to tie however the energy play has not been nice. Canada has only one power-play aim within the final three video games.

10:01 p.m. — Canada’s high line is getting pinned in its personal finish with the American high line.

9:58 p.m. — The US’ aim is the primary even-strength aim Canada has allowed all event lengthy. It additionally marks the primary time the Canadians have trailed within the event.

9:57 p.m. — GOAL. Off lengthy, sustained offensive zone stress it is Alex Turcott with an incredible redirect off the purpose shot from Drew Helleson. USA leads 1-0.

9:53 p.m. — People now having some zone stress. Ends with Cam York excessive level shot snagged by the glove of Levi.

9:52 p.m. — Canada’s backchecking has been improbable all tourney and continues tonight;

9:50 p.m. — Good protection by the US as Dylan Cozens flies down the left wing. Then off a turnover one other good defensive play by the People within the excessive slot. Pictures proper now are 5-2 in favor of Canada.

9:50 p.m. — Pad cease by Spencer Knight.

9:47 p.m. — A lot completely different Canada group proper now as they don’t seem to be getting a lot penetration to the center. USA head coach Nate Leaman likes to hold photographs to the perimeter and thus far the bulk have been outdoors.

9:42 p.m. — USA with a bit of stress however Sanderson with a turnover to finish it.

9:41 p.m. — Canada buzzing across the USA web however nothing goes — even when Spencer Knight misplaced his stick.

9:40 p.m. — About 1:30 in and the groups have traded vast photographs.

9:38 p.m. — “Alright boys, that is it. Get pleasure from.” Recreation on.

Pregame

9 p.m. — Trevor Zegras on NHL Community: “I truthfully do not suppose this goalie’s been examined 5-on-5 but.” Then added: I truthfully do not suppose they have been examined with an actual group but and I believe we’re form of occurring all cylinders proper now.”

7:48 p.m. — The captain sends his boys a message.

7:34 p.m. — USA’s Okay’Andre Miller shouting out his squad.

World Juniors 2021: Newest information

Event

USA

Canada