Team Canada is in the gold medal game of the 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Men’s Hockey Championship in Edmonton, Alberta on Tuesday. In the semifinal on Monday, Canada defeated Russia 5-0 to advance to the final for the 18th time in the history of the tournament since the IIHF adopted the gold medal game format starting in 1996.
The fact that Canada defeated the Russian powerhouse on Monday by five goals was quite frankly stunning. However, the major reason for the dominant Canadian performance came down to goaltending. Devon Levi of Montreal, Quebec was flawless, while Russian goaltender Yaroslav Askarov was simply awful. Levi notched the shutout by making 28 saves.
Levi now has a record of six wins and zero losses or Canada in the tournament, with a sparkling goals against average of 0.53, three shutouts, and a save percentage of .975. He has only given up three goals in 118 shots. Askarov meanwhile is at 3-2 with a goals against average of 2.59. Levi was a seventh-round draft pick by the Florida Panthers in 2020, while Askarov was a first-round draft pick by the Nashville Predators. The seventh-round has outplayed the first-round pick and it is not even close.
Offensively for Canada on Monday, Dylan Cozens of Whitehorse, Yukon led Canada in scoring with three points (one goal and two assists). Two other Canadians had a multi-point game. Braden Schneider of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan had one goal and one assist for two points, and Jakob Pelletier of Quebec City, Quebec had two assists. The other three Canadian goal scorers were Connor McMichael of Ajax, Ontario, Cole Perfetti of Whitby, Ontario, and Alex Newhook of St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Canada will now play the United States in the gold medal game. In the other semifinal, the United States beat Finland 3-2.