The United States has played two games thus far at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship. They have been two games on opposite ends of the spectrum. Game 1 showcased a team struggling to play a full 60 in a 5-3 loss to Russia. Game 2 was a dominating 73-shot, 11-goal shutout of Austria less than 24 hours later.
On Tuesday the Americans will face a foe that should give them a lot to handle while they aim for a complete 60-minute effort. The Czech Republic is coming off a shocking 2-0 win over Russia backstopped with a 30-save performance by 2019 Kings draft pick Lukas Parik. It was an impressive showing by the Czechs, who blocked more than 20 shots and used a smart, smothering defense to stop Russia’s high-powered offense. In a last-minute change, Parik will get the start. Nick Malik, the son of ex-NHLer Marek, was penciled in to start but will now serve as the backup.
Across the way, the United States will start Spencer Knight in net. The Panthers prospect allowed four goals on 12 shots to Russia and will be looking to regain the form he’s shown at the collegiate level. Before heading to the World Juniors, he was 4-0-0-0 with a .955 save percentage in four games for Boston College.
Knight will also be hoping for the offensive burst in front of him that Dustin Wolf saw on Saturday. Trevor Zegras, who led the team in points last year (nine assists), is setting the pace in 2021 for the Americans with five points (three goals, two assists). Right behind him is Matthew Boldy who potted a hat trick on Saturday and John Farinacci (two goals, assist).
One guy the Americans would like to get on the board is Cole Caufield. The Wisconsin Badger and Canadiens prospect has one assist but is playing on a line with Boldy and Matthew Beniers — two guys who can get him the puck. Tuesday should bring some key opportunities for Caufield; his lone goal 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 battle it out in Group B action.
(All times Eastern)
USA vs. Czech Republic live score, highlights from 2021 World Juniors
4:19 p.m. — Trevor Zegras comes close to the hat trick but rings it off the post on the power play.
4:17 p.m. — Alex Turcotte makes the pass around the pack of the net and gets nailed by Radek Kucerik. Turcotte is down and skates off slowly after the trainer comes out.
4:16 p.m. — Czech’s get two great scoring chances up close but Spencer Knight gets the pad down.
4:16 p.m. — Czech’s take another penalty.
4:15 p.m. — Malik now in and Parik is out and not happy.
4:13 p.m. — PP GOAL. Matthew Boldy (MIN) down by the net and he goes between the legs — a la Nick Malik’s dad Marek’s famous shootout goal — to score. USA leads 7-0.
4:12 p.m. — Delay of game handed out to the Czech bench. Possibly because they wanted to make a goalie change and something got crossed up.
4:10 p.m. — GOAL. Cole Caufield (MTL) picks the puck up and just buries it from the bottom of the right circle. His first of the tournament too. USA leads 6-0.
4:05 p.m. — PP GOAL. It’s an #ArtyParty in 2021. NYC native Arthur Kaliyev (LAK) snaps the puck from the left circle for his first of the tournament. USA leads 5-0.
4:04 p.m. — USA gets another power play.
3:58 p.m. — GOAL. On a delayed penalty, Trevor Zegras (ANA) with one-timer from the right circle. USA leads 4-0.
3:56 p.m. — USA keeping the pressure on as the ice continues to tilt their way.
3:51 p.m. — Final frame is underway.
Second period: USA 3, Czech Republic 0
Shots through two periods: USA 23, Czech Republic 20
3:32 p.m. — Under a minute left and Spencer Knight (FLA) makes his best save of the game as he robs Michal Teply (CHI) all alone after the puck popped out to him.
3:31 p.m. — Landon Slaggert (CHI) comes close as the puck trickles just wide. USA is buzzing now.
3:25 p.m. — GOAL. Bobby Brink (PHI) on the doorstep with his stick on the ice (always a good thing) and a defenseman on him bangs in the perfect Matthew Beniers pass. USA leads 3-0.
3:22 p.m. — GOAL. After coincidental minors and 4-on-4 action, Henry Thrun (ANA) feeds a wide-open Trevor Zegras (ANA) in the right circle and he buries it with Parik out of position. USA leads 2-0.
3:18 p.m. — Spencer Knight with a good stop on Wild prospect Pavel Novak.
3:13 p.m. — Drew Helleson (COL) with a shot from the high slot and Parik makes the stop but gives up the rebound. USA not there to capitalize but are flying in this middle frame.
3:08 p.m. — GOAL. Brett Berard (NYR) gets his initial shot blocked but his second attempt squirts through Parik and dribbles into the paint. Bobby Brink (PHI) jumps on the loose puck and buries it. USA leads 1-0.
3:07 p.m. — Spencer Knight with another good stop but his rebound goes out into the middle
3:05 p.m. — Matthew Beniers is absolutely flying in the offensive zone. He’s available in the 2021 draft.
2:58 p.m. — Second period underway.
First period: USA 0, Czech Republic 0
Shots: Czech Republic 10, USA 7
2:37 p.m. — Wow. Czech’s with a great chance but just can’t connect on what would have been a slam-dunk goal. A royal road pass to a wide-open Michal Teply (CHI) who can’t finish at the far side.
2:22 p.m. — Ryan Johnson (BUF) called for tripping. Per NHL Network’s Dave Starman, USA was worried about the Czech’s embellishing calls … and it was close.
2:20 p.m. — Spencer Knight looking solid in net thus far. He’s faced six shots and has stopped them all.
2:15 p.m. — Matthew Boldy with a good chance on the doorstep as he gets two good looks.
2:14 p.m. — Adam Raska (SJS) takes Cole Caufield (MTL) into the boards by the Czech’s bench — with a little extra — and gets two for roughing. Entering the game, Team USA is 3-for-7 with the man advantage.
2:12 p.m. — Off a turnover, Brett Berard (NYR) with a good chance. Then a mad scramble but the Americans can’t bury it despite Parik out of position.
2:10 p.m. — Some explanation from head coach Nate Leaman on why Spencer Knight (FLA), and not Dustin Wolf (CGY), is between the pipes for this one.
Leaman said @usahockey plan at outset was to play Knight, Wolf, and Knight — in that order — over the first three games. And they are sticking with it. @NHLNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 29, 2020
2:08 p.m. — Game on.
2:07 p.m. — UPDATE: Lukas Parik is in net for the Czechs.
1:21 p.m. — Lines are here.
Leaman said he really liked Brock Faber (LAK) with Cam York (PHI) and expected that duo to play a big role going forward. USA looks to have solidified 3L with Berard (NYR)-Farinacci (ARI)-Brink (PHI). LaCombe and Knight get a chance to bounce back from rough outings vs. RUS.
— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) December 29, 2020
World Juniors 2021: Latest news