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. Parik will get the day off on Tuesday as he’ll serve as the backup to Nick Malik, who allowed seven goals on 41 shots to Sweden in the team’s first game.
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
1:21 p.m. — Lines are here.
World Juniors 2021: Latest news
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