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2021 WJC Medal Round RECAP: Finland wins Bronze, and the USA stuns Canada in complete win!

What a tournament. Let’s go through the last two games of the 2021 World Juniors.

Canada v United States: Gold Medal Game - 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Bronze Medal Game - Russia scores first, Finland promptly drops 4 unanswered on them in response. Finland gets the Pronssi!

The entire knockout round has largely been Finland reminding everybody that their current strategy is the guy who gets punched once in a fight and then adrenaline just turns them into a punch factory.

Finland reminded Russia just who they were up against once Russia scored early in the first period.

Game Notes:

  • Once Finland scored their second goal, it was all but over. Russia looked like they’d been punched in the gut outside of individual players, and Finland just kept stomping on them until the blood stopped flowing. It was kind of impressive.
  • Bruins in this Game - Russia: Roman Bychkov played 18 minutes, including much of the double minor late in the game that was drawn by...
  • Bruins in this Game - Finland: Matias Mantykivi! He played 12 minutes, was given an assist on the game-tying goal, and frankly should’ve been given the assist on Anton Lundell’s 2nd goal; he had two russians right on him and his digging for the puck popped the thing out for him. He had a very strong game, and he earned his Bronze Medal. Well played to him!

Gold Medal Game - Canada gets absolutely stunned out by the United States, the USA wins gold 2-0!

Well! That certainly didn’t go how I expected!

Game Notes:

  • We’ve learned a lot about this tournament. Namely, Canada was not tested very hard throughout the tournament, and learned a very harsh lesson that not starting on time can have devastating consequences. They looked very out of sorts for the first period and honestly looked like a team that thought they had this in the bag.
  • But credit where credit’s due: Spencer Knight answered the bell big time against Canada’s furious efforts at overcorrecting, especially in the third, where the Red and White became absolutely desperate to score any kind of goal. The US did a lot of their “hang back and let Knight sort it out” thing that their system has unintentionally rewarded, which made it a stressful viewing experience.
  • Post-game, the USA wheeled out what looked like a trash barrel that had Canada’s logo on it, and a lot of people interpreted that as a shot across the bow right after shutting out the premiere program in the sport. Regrettably, it was just an empty 15 gallon barrel that Team USA’s coach used as a visual aide for his belief in taking each game one at a time. Given how Canadian fans have responded so far, honestly I think they should’ve just doubled down and just brought out a novelty trash can. The ambiguity was enough to drive opposing fans nuts, the least they could do is commit.
  • And if you’re about to give some praise or go get super paranoid and doompost-y about Hockey Canada, let’s get this straight: Most of these guys are young, Canada wasn’t playing for relegation, and it wasn’t their year. They’ll get to do this all over again next year, with pretty much the same groups. If we’re all very lucky, they’ll get to do it in front of a crowd. Think of it that way. They’re just kids, you and they will get over it.

Groups for next year:

The 2022 World Juniors will be in Edmonton and Red Deer again, with all groups intact due to the moratorium on relegation/promotion.

Congrats to The USA, Canada, and Finland for a hard-fought tournament, and thank you for reading our coverage of the World Juniors!