WJC 2021: Three Takeaways as Team USA take Gold in shutout

The United States team celebrates its victory. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
The United States team celebrates its victory. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /
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Team USA
The United States team celebrates its victory. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

2. Perfect Gameplan

Although both teams were absolute juggernauts throughout the tournament, Team Canada were the overwhelming favorites heading into the Gold Medal game given their stacked roster.

After all, they had the best goaltender in the entire tournament in Devon Levi, a loaded blueline unit, an explosive forward group spearheaded by LA Kings prospect Quinton Byfield and Buffalo Sabres forward Dylan Cozens.

However, all of that talent was no match for hard work and substance as Team USA devised a perfect plan to stifle their rivals to perfection and take home the ultimate prize.

They were outshot by Canada 34-21 but they did an excellent job of either blocking shots, limiting traffic or, if a shot did get through, Spencer Knight was at the peak of his powers and was determined not to let anything beat him.

Team USA
The United States team celebrates its victory. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Team USA played hard on the forecheck, they were physical, they were calculated and, most importantly, they struck at the perfect time and made the most of their opportunities.

Defenseman Drew Helleson put a puck on net and Alex Turcotte was able to deflect it past Devon Levi in the first period, who hadn’t allowed a single goal at 5-on-5 prior to the Gold Medal game, before Trevor Zegras scored what proved to be the final knockout blow in the middle frame.

It marked the fourth time in five games that Team USA has beat Team Canada in the Gold Medal game, and it was solid proof that the Americans got hot at the right time and just devised the better game plan to stop a Canadian team that hadn’t lost a single game in the tournament.