There’s three compelling matchups to keep an eye on as Team USA battle Team Canada for Gold tonight.
It is Championship day at the 2021 World Junior Championship in Red Deer, Edmonton, and Team Canada and Team USA will be slugging it out for the Gold Medal and ultimate bragging rights.
Both teams are true juggernauts and dominated the tournament, so tonight’s game should be a mouthwatering preview.
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It has a lot of history too given that Team USA has won three of its four previous meetings with Team Canada in Gold Medal games, including the last Gold Medal-meeting between the two giants back in 2017.
Team USA has now medalled in five of the last six years at the IIHF World Championship, while Team Canada will be looking to defend their crown after winning Gold in 2020.
All the ingredients are there for what should be a tantalizing night of hockey, and we’ve broken it all down by looking at the three matchups that could prove critical to tonight’s game.
Let’s delve right in…
3. Devon Levi Vs. Spencer Knight
Goaltending is huge in any game and in any tournament, but it takes on extra importance when the Gold Medal is on the line.
As such, both Team Canada and Team USA will need elite goaltending and they should get it given that they have set the gold-standard in that department at the 2021 World Juniors so far.
Devon Levi has been a standout performer for Team Canada and he’s been the best goalie in the tournament, keeping three shutouts, including two in his last two games, and allowing just three goals.
He is a perfect picture of coolness between the pipes and turned away all 28 shots by Russia in Canada’s dominant Semi-Final victory, and the Florida Panthers prospect boasts an impressive 0.53 Goals Against Average.
Then there is Spencer Knight who has been just as stellar for Team USA, keeping two shutouts with a .921 Save Percentage and a 1.98 Goals Against Average.
Knight has allowed more goals than Levi (9), although four of them came in the Christmas Day loss to Russia and the Florida Panthers stud has been considerably improved since then.
He pitched back-to-back shutouts in the final two games of Group B for Team USA, and he’ll need to be at his best if his country is to get the better of a powerhouse Canada team.
Basically, whichever goalie performs at the peak of their powers tonight will be the one celebrating Gold at the end of the tournament, so it will be up to Devon Levi and Spencer Knight to ensure that they are unstoppable.