The latest chapter of the Canada-USA hockey rivalry will be written Tuesday night as the two sides meet in the gold medal game at the World Junior Championship.
Watch the gold medal game LIVE tonight at 8:30PM ET / 5:30PM PT on TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5 and TSN Direct.
Team Canada has yet trail through six games at the tournament and posted another convincing victory Monday, defeating Russia 5-0 in their semifinal game. Canada is looking to post a perfect record at the tournament for the first time since 2015, when they also accomplished the feat on home ice in Toronto and Montreal.
The United States have faced more adversity on their path to the gold medal game, having dropped their tournament opener to Russia 5-3. Team USA has won five straight games since that loss, including their 4-3 semifinal win over Finland. Arthur Kaliyev scored the game-winning goal with less than 90 seconds left in regulation after the U.S. blew a two-goal lead in the third period.
“It was a great hockey game and hats off to Finland for being a great team,” United States head coach Nate Leaman said after the win. “We showed a lot of mental toughness. When they tied it up our playmakers went out and made a great play to win the game. We’re very happy to be playing for gold tomorrow.”
Canada did not yet know their opponent after defeating Russia, though head coach Andre Tourigny said the team was ready for the pressure in either scenario.
“There’s a lot of emotion in that tournament and you want to be in the last game,” he said. “You want to be part of something special and that last game will be something special.”
Tourigny added he has focused on having his players prepare for adversity dating back to their selection camp in November and expects that focus to pay off in the gold medal game.
“The way the leaders and the player deal with adversity every time there’s adversity, that’s what’s made the difference to me,” Tourigny said.
“It’s a really tough tournament, there’s still a lot of hockey to be played here. … Tomorrow will be a hell of a game.”
Team Canada goaltender Devon Levi tied a tournament record with his third shutout on Monday, equalling Justin Pogge’s mark from 2006.
“It’s something to maybe look at after the tournament, but the job’s not done yet,” Levi said of tying the record after the win.
Team USA has yet to be held under three goals in any game at the World Juniors, ranking only behind Canada in goals with 34 through six games.
American forward Trevor Zegras enters the gold medal game tied for the tournament lead with Canada’s Dylan Cozens, with both players sitting at 10.
With the win, Canada will repeat as champions at the tournament and pick up their third gold in four years.
The United States, meanwhile, is looking for their first gold medal since 2017 having already secured a return to the podium after being eliminated in the quarter-finals of last year’s tournament.