The United States has played two games at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship so far. It was two games on the other end of the spectrum. Game 1 featured a team fighting for a full 60 in a 5-3 loss to Russia. Game 2 was a dominant 73-shot shutout against Austria with 11 goals less than 24 hours later.
On Tuesday, the Americans will face an opponent who has a lot to offer them as they go for a 60-minute effort. The Czech Republic clinched a shocking 2-0 win over Russia, halted until 2019 with a 30-save performance against Lukas Parik, Kings draft pick. It was a formidable feat by the Czechs, blocking more than 20 shots and using a clever, stifling defense to stop Russia's high-powered offense. Parik will give the go-ahead at the last minute. Nick Malik, the son of ex-NHL player Marek, was drafted at the start, but will now serve as a backup.
On the other hand, the US will start Spencer Knight online. The Panthers prospect allowed four goals in 12 shots to Russia and will try to regain the form he showed at the college level. Prior to joining the World Juniors, he was 4-0-0-0 with a savings of 0.955 percent in four games for Boston College.
Knight is also hoping for the offensive breakout ahead of him that Dustin Wolf saw on Saturday. Trevor Zegras, who led the team in points last year (nine assists), will set the pace for the Americans in 2021 with five points (three goals, two assists). Right behind him are Matthew Boldy, who scored a hat trick on Saturday, and John Farinacci (two goals, assist).
One guy the Americans would like to bring on board is Cole Caufield. The Wisconsin Badger and Canadiens prospect has an template, but plays in line with Boldy and Matthew Beniers – two guys who can get him the puck. Tuesday should offer Caufield some important opportunities. His only target from the 2020 edition was the OT game winner against the Czech Republic in last year's preliminary round.
Sporting News has all the action as the United States and the Czech Republic compete in Group B action.
(All times east)
USA vs. Czech Republic Live Score, Highlights from 2021 World Juniors
16:19 pm – – Trevor Zegras comes close to the hat trick, but rings it from the post during the power game.
16:17 pm – – Alex Turcotte makes the pass around the net and is nailed by Radek Kucerik. Turcotte is downstairs and slowly walking away after the coach comes out.
16:16 pm – – Czechs have two great scoring chances up close but Spencer Knight brings them down the block.
16:16 pm – – Czechs take another punishment.
4:15 pm – – Malik in now and Parik is out and not happy.
4:13 p.m. – PP-ZIEL. Matthew Boldy (MIN) down at the net and he goes between the legs – a la Nick Malik's father Marek's famous shootout goal – to score a goal. USA leads 7-0.
4:12 pm – – Game delay distributed to the Czech bank. Possibly because they wanted to switch goalkeepers and something got mixed up.
4:10 p.m. – TOR. Cole Caufield (MTL) picks up the puck and simply buries it at the bottom of the right circle. His first of the tournament too. USA leads 6-0.
4:05 p.m. – PP-ZIEL. It's a #ArtyParty in 2021. NYC native Arthur Kaliyev (LAK) grabs the puck from the left circle for his first part of the tournament. USA leads 5-0.
4:04 pm – – USA gets another power game.
3:58 p.m. – TOR. On a late penalty, Trevor Zegras (ANA) with a timer from the right circle. USA leads 4-0.
3:56 p.m. – – The US maintains the pressure as the ice continues to lean.
3:51 pm – – The last frame is in progress.
Second period: USA 3, Czech Republic 0
Recordings through two periods: USA 23, Czech Republic 20
3:32 pm – – Less than a minute more, and Spencer Knight (FLA) saves the game best when he steals Michal Teply (CHI) all by himself after the puck popped out on him.
3:31 pm – – Landon Slaggert (CHI) comes closer when the puck just trickles in. The US is humming now.
3:25 p.m. – TOR. Bobby Brink (PHI) on the doorstep with his stick on the ice (always a good thing) and a defender on top of him slam into the perfect pass from Matthew Beniers. USA leads 3-0.
3:22 p.m. – TOR. After random minors and 4-on-4 actions, Henry Thrun (ANA) feeds a wide-open Trevor Zegras (ANA) in the right circle and buries him with Parik from the position. USA leads 2-0.
3:18 pm – – Spencer Knight with a good stop on Wild Prospect Pavel Novak.
3:13 pm – – Drew Helleson (COL) with a shot from the high slot and Parik makes the stop, but gives up the rebound. The US is not there to capitalize, it is flying within this medium range.
3:08 p.m. – TOR. Brett Berard (NYR) gets his first shot blocked, but his second attempt spurts through Parik and drips into the paint. Bobby Brink (PHI) jumps on the loose puck and buries it. USA leads 1-0.
3:07 pm – – Spencer Knight with another good stop, but his rebound goes in the middle
3:05 pm – – Matthew Beniers absolutely flies in the offensive zone. It is available in a draft of 2021.
2:58 pm – – Second period in progress.
First period: USA 0, Czech Republic 0
Recordings: Czech Republic 10, USA 7
2:37 pm – – Impressive. Czechs have a great chance but cannot connect with what would have been a slam dunk goal. A royal road leads to a wide open Michal Teply (CHI) who cannot be finished on the other side.
02:22 p.m. – – Ryan Johnson (BUF) called for stumbling blocks. According to NHL Network's Dave Starman, the US was concerned about the beautifying calls from the Czechs … and it was close.
2:20 pm – – Spencer Knight looks solid on the net so far. He fired six shots and stopped them all.
2:15 p.m. – – Matthew Boldy with a good chance on the doorstep when he gets two good looks.
2:14 pm – – Adam Raska (SJS) picks up Cole Caufield (MTL) on the Czech bench with a little extra and gets two for roughing. Team USA is 3: 7 with the man advantage.
2:12 pm – – Brett Berard (NYR) has a good chance after a turnover. A crazy mess then, but the Americans can't bury it even though Parik is out of position.
2:10 p.m. – – Some explanations from head coach Nate Leaman as to why Spencer Knight (FLA) and not Dustin Wolf (CGY) stand between the pipes for this one.
Leaman said @usahockey initially planned to play Knight, Wolf, and Knight in that order for the first three games. And they stick with it. @NHLNetwork
– Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 29, 2020
2:08 pm – – Continue to play.
2:07 p.m. – UPDATE: Lukas Parik is online for the Czechs.
1:21 p.m. – – Lines are here.
Leaman said he was very fond of Brock Faber (LAK) with Cam York (PHI) and expected this duo to play a big role in the future. The US appears to have solidified 3L with Berard (NYR) -Farinacci (ARI) -Brink (PHI). LaCombe and Knight have a chance to recover from tough runs against RUS.
– Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) December 29, 2020
World Juniors 2021: The latest news
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