3 Star keys for United States against Canada in WJC championship

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The NHL Network will air every game of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

It includes comprehensive coverage of the United States national junior team, which defeated Finland 4-3 in the semifinal round and will play Canada in the championship game of the tournament on Tuesday (9:30 p.m. ET). It is the fifth time that the United States and Canada will play each other in the WJC championship game.

Longtime NCAA hockey analyst Dave Starman, who will handle the broadcast along with Stephen Nelson, will give his three keys to victory for the United States before each of its games during the 12-day tournament.

“Well, here we are, just where the hockey world wanted us to be,” Starman said. “USA-Canada, gold medal game … and no other hockey games on television to compete with. So these kids, the future of the NHL, have North America to themselves tonight. A perfect storm to sell what a great game we have.”

Here are Starman’s 3 keys to victory for the United States against Canada:

 

1. Just play

“That has been the mantra since Day One: go play your game. The U.S. players, led by their veterans, led by their coaches, have all bought into the roles they are playing which makes it easier to just go out and play your shift. Each player knows what’s expected and no one feels the pressure to carry the team, and each has displayed what the strength of their game is. Chemistry is vital to getting to the gold medal game, and the U.S. has created it with consistency up and down its lineup and not having to dramatically move players around. Each line playing to their identity, nothing more, nothing less, ensures that their game will stay consistent.”

 

2. Control the tide

“U.S. assistant coach Steve Miller told me this morning that the bench was calm, the veterans said the right thing, no one panicked, and they kept playing for the next goal after Finland tied the game 3-3 in the third period in the semifinal round. When you lose like they did last year (1-0 to Finland in the quarterfinal round), you learn. What the U.S. returners learned was how to manage a game, manage emotional swings, and stay locked into what’s next, not what happened. I call it having a bartender’s memory. The best way to control emotional mood swings in games is to stay in the moment, trust your leadership, and trust in what you proved you can accomplish. The U.S. has done that.”

 

3. Discipline

“Canada’s power play is scary and the United States’ power play is scary. Its two North American teams who love to get after each other. Minus fans, I’m interested to see how much better players can keep (control of) their emotions in after the whistle scrums. The good hit always energizes a bench, but neither team should be willing to let their discipline get away from them. Every penalty you take, according to analytics, gives you a three percent less chance to win. Power plays were a huge deal in the U.S.-Finland game (the United States scored one goal with the man-advantage, Finland scored twice). Both coaches will implore their teams to stay out of the box.”

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