Pair of AOF alumni anchor American upset
The World Junior Championships concluded on Tuesday with the Gold Medal game between the United States and Canada. It’s quickly becoming one of the biggest rivalries in all of hockey, as the two countries account for seven of the last 10 championships and have met in the Gold Medal game twice in the past five years.
Led by not one, but two former Avon Old Farms alumni in Trevor Zegras and Spencer Knight, Team USA blanked heavily favored Canada 2-0 in the finale.
It’s been four years since Zegras and Knight suited up for AOF, and in that span, not much has changed with these two. A Bedford, New York, native, Zegras led the Beavers in scoring with 42 points while Knight backstopped the squad with a 1.89 goals-against average and .935 save percentage. Fast forward to the first week of 2021, and Zegras leads all scorers at World Juniors with 18 points and Knight boasts a 1.63 goals-against with a .940 save percentage.
“You could see them develop,” John Gardner, the pair’s coach at Avon, said to the Hartford Current. “We were scary, and those were 15-year-old kids playing against 18-, 19-year-olds. You could see their skill.”
Canada had outscored opponents 41-4 leading up to the Gold Medal game with USA. The hometown team was considered to be a ‘dream team’ of sorts, as the tournament got underway in Edmonton with a roster that included 20 first-round NHL Draft picks.
Once the puck dropped on Tuesday night, though, it was all red, white and blue. Knight stood tall, turning away all 30 shots faced from the Canadians. He became the first goalie ever to blank Team Canada in a Gold Medal game, according to Jon Marosi. Zegras picked up a secondary assist on Alex Turcotte’s first-period goal that opened the scoring seven minutes into the game. Then, midway through the second period, chipped in a goal of his own to make it 2-0.
Certainly an upset by most pundits’ standards, the 25-man American roster featured players from 14 different states. Additionally, the group stems from 17 different youth organizations across the country, with Shattuck St. Mary’s, Cape Cod Whalers, Chicago Mission, Neponset Valley River Rats, and Avon Old Farms leading the way.