2021 WJC update as Team USA bounce back, Team Canada dominate

Cam York #4, Arthur Kaliyev #28, Matthew Boldy #12, Cole Caulfield #13 and Trevor Zegras #9 of the United States. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Cam York #4, Arthur Kaliyev #28, Matthew Boldy #12, Cole Caulfield #13 and Trevor Zegras #9 of the United States. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Let us get you up to speed with our rapid 2021 WJC update.

It is Christmas which means that it is also the World Junior Championship and the 2021 tournament in Edmonton is off to a thrilling start with both Team USA and Team Canada having been in action.

We’re now on Day Three of the World Junior Championships, so we are going to get you caught up on all the action before really ramping up our coverage for the rest of the tournament.

Day One

It all started on Christmas Day, as is tradition, with a slate of three games highlighting the opening day of the 2021 IIHF 2021 World Junior Championship in Edmonton.

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Roman Faith scored the only goal of the game in the third period to guide Slovakia to a 1-0 win over Switzerland, before Finland came out on top in a 5-3 duel with Germany.

Ottawa Senators stud Tim Stuetzle, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, lit the lamp for Germany but goals from Florida Panthers prospect Anton Lundell and Aku Raty, who is expected to be among the top skaters available in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, helped Finland get off the mark in Group A.

Then it was time for the main highlight of the day as Team USA took on Russia in what was a true clash of the heavyweights.

It was a mouthwatering start to Group B and it didn’t disappoint with Russia beating Team USA 5-3 thanks to a Yegor Chinakhov goal in the final seconds of regulation.

Vasili Ponomaryov had drawn first blood for Russia before Cam York made it a tied game at 14:01 in the first period, while John Farinacci and Anaheim Ducks prospect forward Trevor Zegras also got on the board for Team USA but it wasn’t enough.

Both Russia and Team USA are expected to be two of the favorites in this tournament, so it is advantage Russia after the first few days of the tournament.

Dawson Mercer (20)
Dawson Mercer #20 of Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Day Two

Day Two of the IIHF 2021 World Junior Championship featured a lot of goals. A hell of a lot of goals.

It started between Sweden and the Czech Republic with Sweden dominating in a 7-1 win as Jan Mysak, the 48th overall pick by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, scored the only goal of the game for the Czechs and Philip Broberg of the Edmonton Oilers picked up three assists.

Sweden racked up 41 shots and took full advantage with Arvid Costmar, Albin Sundsvik, Emil Heineman, Theodor Niederbach, Elmer Soderblom, Oscar Bjerselius and Noel Gunler all lighting the lamp.

The goals just kept on coming in the second game of the day as Team Canada got their Gold Medal defense off to a perfect and dominant start by beating Germany 16-2.

Despite being without Captain and star forward Kirby Dach, who was ruled out of the tournament with a wrist injury sustained in a pre-tournament game against Russia, Canada ran riot against a German team that could only ice 14 skaters following a COVID-19 outbreak.

Some top future NHL talent was on full display as Buffalo Sabres forward Dylan Cozens stole the show with a hat trick and six points, while New Jersey Devils prospect Dawson Mercer also had a big night with two goals and two assists.

Forwards Peyton Krebs (Vegas Golden Knights), Alex Newhook (Colorado Avalanche) and Philip Tomasino (Nashville Predators) all scored two goals each, while defensemen Kaiden Guhle and Thomas Harley and forwards Ryan Suzuki, Connor McMichael and Jakob Pelletier, all top Draft picks over the last two years, also lit the lamp for Team Canada.

There is no doubt that Team Canada boasts an abundance of riches and a stacked roster, and they look to be the team to beat as they chase another Gold Medal.

However, Team USA will also be a force to be reckoned with and they got revenge for their loss to Russia on Christmas Day by taking out their frustrations on Austria, who were playing in their WJC debut after being promoted last year.

But it wasn’t a happy day for Austria as Team USA completely dominated with Minnesota Wild forward Matthew Boldy scoring a hat trick.

Calgary Flames prospect Dustin Wolf pitched a shutout with 10 saves, while Trevor Zegras of the Anaheim Ducks finished with two goals and two assists.

Forward Brendan Brisson, who was taken with the No. 29 overall pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, scored two goals too while defenseman Drew Helleson (Colorado Avalanche) and forwards John Farinacci (Arizona Coyotes), Brett Berard (New York Rangers) and Sam Colangelo (Anaheim Ducks) also got on the board for Team USA.

It was a huge win for Team USA who take on the Czech Republic on Tuesday, while Team Canada are back in action later today against Slovakia.

Dylan Cozens (22)
Dylan Cozens #22 of Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Early Star

Dylan Cozens was the seventh overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, and the forward could be seen in the NHL sooner rather than later based on his exploits in Team Canada’s opening game of the 2021 WJC.

The center stepped up in Kirby Dach’s absence and truly delivered with a hat trick and six points, easily emerging as the standout in Team Canada’s 16-2 victory against Team Germany.

Anton Lundell went No. 12 overall to the Florida Panthers in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, and could well morph into a future star for a franchise that desperately needs some exciting young talent.

And it has been a blistering start to the 2021 World Junior Championship for Lundell, who has three points (2 G, 1 A) in two games with Finland a perfect 2-0-0 so far.

Early Loser

Germany could only put out 14 skaters and three forward lines against Team Canada due to a COVID-19 outbreak, and they were crushed by a more talented and more dominant powerhouse.

Germany will be hoping to get some skaters back soon or it could be a miserable tournament, although Tim Stuetzle, the No. 3 overall pick to the Ottawa Senators in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, has looked good with a goal and an assist in two games so far, although he will need to elevate his game further if he is to carry this depleted Germany team.

dark. Next. Team Canada still a juggernaut without Dach

That’s it for your 2021 World Junior Championship Recap, and we’ll be back on Monday with some things we’ve learned from the first few days of the tournament.