By: Brayden Micallef
In a year where hockey games were few and far between, this year’s tournament served as a bright spot, as it reunited many fans with the sport they know and love.
The 2021 World Junior Hockey Championship will undoubtedly go down as one for the ages. Between the talented rosters, highlight reel plays, and extreme regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s tournament is one that will not be forgotten.
In Canada’s 3-0 quarterfinal win against the Check Republic, Connor McMichael finally broke through his scoring slump. While the empty netter may not have been the goal the centreman would have liked to score, it got him on the board. Earlier in the contest, McMichael assisted on Dylan Cozens’s game winning goal with a skillful lob pass.
In the semifinals Canada faced a determined Russian team that was looking to avenge their gold medal loss to Canada at last year’s tournament. However, McMichael and the rest of the Canadian team proved to be too much to handle, as they cruised past their rivals in a 4-1 victory on route to the gold medal game. McMichael once again found the back of the net, scoring the game winning goal.
In the gold medal game McMichael’s Canadians fell short to Hunter Skinner’s USA team, as Canada struggled to find a way to beat USA netminder Spencer Knight. Canada had a plethora of prime scoring chances, including a breakaway from the London superstar. However, they were unable to capitalize as the Canadians lost 2-0 in what will be remembered as a true heartbreaker for the host nation.
McMichael finished the 2021 World Junior Championship with four goals and four assists, for a total of eight points. The Knights superstar has proven he has what it takes to perform on the big stage, as he totaled an impressive fifteen points over his two years representing his nation of Canada in the World Junior Championship.
London Knight defenceman, Hunter Skinner, was given a chance to suit up for the United States in their quarterfinal match up against the Germany. While the talented defenseman did not register a point in this year’s tournament, he was part of an incredibly talented US team and will be returning to London with a gold medal.
While the tournament may not have ended the way JJ Peterka would have liked, he should still be extremely proud of his performance. The Knights 2020 CHL Import Draft pick finished the 2021 World Juniors with an astounding four goals, and six assists, for ten points in only five games. If Peterka does make his way to London, there is no doubt that he would make an immediate impact to the line-up.