If last night’s win didn’t make you proud to be an American, then I do not know what will. Not many people know this, but to Canadians, winning the gold in World Juniors is right up there with winning a Stanley Cup. I’m not even kidding. Last week Taylor Hall came out with an article in the Player’s Tribune saying how the WJC is the best 10 days in Canada. Sounds kind of ridiculous considering its a U20 tournament. Not to mention the actual trophy is kind of lame.
Regardless, the USA winning gold this year was great for American Hockey. Before the tournament, the USA hockey brass received incredible amounts of criticism for leaving Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat off the roster, and for good reason. DeBrincat can flat out score. This year he has put up insane numbers going 32-33–65 through just 32 games. He has also played with Canada’s captain Dylan Strome and future GOAT Connor McDavid of the Oilers. So yeah, this kid is good. Ultimately, USA was just fine without him without him on the roster, but hindsight is 20/20. However, as a Blackhawks fan, it would’ve been nice to get a good look at DeBrincat.
Anyway, let’s talk about last night’s game:
Canada came out HOT to start out this game. They were just outplaying the Americans in every aspect of the game: winning battles on the boards, getting to loose pucks, and putting shots on net. Thomas Chabot opened up the scoring with a tap in off a feed from Mat Barzal to make it 1-0. Shortly after, Jeremy Lauzon skated into a wide-open slot and put one home to quickly make it 2-0. The floodgates looked like they were opening. Not a great start for our boys.
This period was almost a polar opposite of what we saw in the first. The Americans were fast, smart, and they got a lot of help from the chemistry of the 6 BU guys on the roster. Charlie McAvoy got the US on the board with help from his Boston University teammate Jordan Greenway. Later on in the period, the US found themselves on a powerplay and fellow Terrier Kiefer Bellows redirected a shot from Adam Fox to tie it up at 2. God Bless Boston University.
To start off the 3rd, the Canadians put up 2 quick goals to get out to yet another 2 goal lead. Not an ideal start for USA. The first period was their worst period of hockey all tournament and it looked like this was where we were headed. All of a sudden, Charlie McAvoy skates on net and feeds one over to Bellows on the weak side who puts in his second of the night. Seemingly right after, Colin White redirected one in right in Carter Hart’s grill to tie this one up. The amount of chances we saw from either team in this period as it came to a close was INSANE. Yet through it all, no one was able to capitalize for a winner. The gold medal was gonna be decided in sudden death.
Pretty much just a 20 minute heart attack.
Both teams were getting point-blank chances from 5 feet out and were STILL unable to bury the GWG. We would need a shootout to find ourselves a winner.
Troy mother fuckin’ Terry. This kid buried the only goal in this shootout and would finish the tournament 4/4 in shootouts. I was so sure that no one would be able to get one past Carter Hart. He just looked calm, confident, and he was wearing 31 so maybe I was subconsciously thinking it was Carey Price. Despite this, USA’s Tyler Parsons stopped an absolute embarrassment of a shot to complete the white wash and win the gold. Not enough can be said about Parsons. FORTY SIX SAVES in a gold medal game. This kid is ready for the show.
Aside from the win for the USA, I think this was an even bigger win for the sport of hockey. As news spread about the intensity of this game, people from all over the country were quickly trying to find a way to tune in to the NHL Network. We’re talking about a U20 hockey game here folks. Even Darren Rovell, who is quite possibly the worst sports personality in the country, was loving the action.
Hockey is entering an age where the game is being taken over by young talent. Players like Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, and Patrik Laine are displaying talents that many people have never seen before and they are among the youngest players in the league. Exposing this country to young talent in the sport of hockey is what is gonna attract more people to the game and make hockey great again in America. Last night, the WJC did just that. A week ago people were unaware that this tournament even existed, now they can’t wait until it comes back again next year. USA HOCKEY IS BACK.