Edmonton, Alberta - Trevor Zegras (Bedford, N.Y.) had two goals and three assists, Bobby Brink (Minnetonka, Minn.) scored twice and Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.) made 22 saves to help the U.S. National Junior Team to a 7-0 victory over the Czech Republic at Rogers Place in game three of preliminary round play at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.
With the victory, the U.S. has clinched a spot in the tournament quarterfinals on Jan. 2. Team USA will close out preliminary round play on Thursday (Dec. 31) against Sweden at 9:30 p.m. ET and the game can be seen live on NHL Network.
“It was a hard-fought win and I don’t think the score is predicated on how the game went,” said head coach Nate Leaman (East Greenwich, R.I.). “It was a tight game and we had to stick with it. I’m proud of the way guys stayed with it until we could break the game open.”
After a scoreless first period in which Knight made 10 saves, the U.S. took control with three second period goals. Brink scored what proved to be the game-winner 5:33 into the stanza when he collected the rebound off a Brett Berard (East Greenwich, R.I.) shot out in front of the net, putting it past Czech netminder Lukas Parik. Zegras tallied the first of his two goals with the teams skating four-on-four at 13:30 when he took a nifty no-look cross-ice pass from Henry Thrun (Southborough, Mass.) and shot the puck into what was essentially an empty net from the right dot. Brink closed out the second period scoring with his second goal just 2:16 later as he was on the receiving end of a pass from Matthew Beniers (Hingham, Mass.) and angled it past Panrik from the top of the crease.
Team USA scored four more times in the third period, including three on the power play, with the goals coming over a span of 5:18. Zegras made it 4-0 at 6:03, before Arthur Kaliyev (Staten Island, N.Y.) put one in the upper corner of the net on the power play from the left circle just more than two minutes later. Cole Caufield beat Panrik from the right circle with a wrist shot between his pads while on the power play to make it 6-0. Boldy finished the scoring with a highlight reel goal on the power play, taking a saucer pass from Zegras and wristing a shot from between his legs into the far side of the net.
With his three assists this afternoon, Zegras is now T-2nd all-time with 14 career assists for Team USA in World Juniors play.
NOTES: Bobby Brink (Minnetonka, Minn.) was named the U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. was 3-for-6 on the power play, while the Czech Republic went 0-for-1 … Team USA outshot the Czech Republic, 32-22 … The U.S. has shutout its last two opponents, marking the first time it has accomplished that feat in a single World Junior Championship since 2015 … The U.S. extended its win streak over the Czech Republic to seven straight games in the World Junior Championship.