Every year, the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships showcases the world’s best talent in the 18- to 20-year-old age group, loaded with future National Hockey League stars on just about every team. This year’s tournament was hosted by Team Canada in Edmonton, Alberta with no spectators. The event featured Badgers of past and present representing multiple countries.
University of Wisconsin Sophomore and Edmonton Oilers draft pick Dylan Holloway played for his home country of Canada. Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s top scorer and Montreal’s draft pick Cole Caufield and former Badger and Los Angeles Kings draft pick Alex Turcotte suited up for Team USA.
The U.S. and Canada both fared pretty well through the group play of the tournament with host country Canada steamrolling through its Group A competition. They finished with an impressive 4-0 record heading into the quarterfinals, having outscored their opponents 33-4.
In Group B, the U.S. entered the quarterfinals with a 3-1 record with their only loss in the opening game to Russia. After this loss, the U.S. went on a three-game winning streak in which they outscored their opponents 22-0.
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During group play, Dylan Holloway recorded a goal and an assist for a total of two points. For the U.S. during group play, Cole Caufield scored once and added one assist for a total of two points, while Alex Turcotte had one goal and four assists.
Having secured the top two spots in the field heading into the single-elimination bracket, the U.S. and Canada were only set to play each other if they both advanced to the championship game, which they both did.
In the quarterfinal round, the U.S. defeated Slovakia by a score of 5-2. Caufield scored the eventual game-winning goal, while Turcotte added two shots on net in the victory. Canada cruised to a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic, a game in which Holloway played 17 minutes and had two shots on goal.
In the semifinals, the U.S. narrowly beat Finland by a score of 4-3. Turcotte opened the scoring for the U.S. and later added an assist on the game-winning goal with under two minutes left in the game.
Caufield also recorded an assist in the dramatic victory. Canada once again easily advanced to the championship with a commanding 5-0 win over Russia, a game in which Holloway added three shots on net.
After two elimination round victories, the U.S. and Canada were set to face off in a heavyweight championship game with the chance to win a coveted World Junior Ice Hockey Championship, which the U.S. had not won since 2017 and with Canada being the defending champions.
This game marked the first time in the history of the tournament that Badgers players faced off against each other for World Junior gold. The matchup was loaded with future NHL talent, with both rosters boasting a plethora of first round draft picks, including Caufield, Turcotte and Holloway.
In the gold medal game, the U.S. controlled the pace of play through the first period and led 1-0 after the opening frame on a goal that Alex Turcotte deflected into the back of the net past the Canadian goalkeeper, jumpstarting the U.S. offensive attack.
In the second period, the U.S. added another goal to take a 2-0 lead, which they would protect until the final whistle. Dylan Holloway played 15 minutes in the loss, taking home a silver medal.
With the win, Turcotte and Caufield will join an elite group of 10 players in the history of the Wisconsin hockey program to win a World Junior Ice Hockey Championship.
Since their experience at the tournament, Caufield and Holloway have returned to Madison and continued their dominance for the top-10 ranked Badgers. Caufield is currently a frontrunner for the Hobey Baker Award for college hockey’s top player.
He has scored 17 goals and 33 points in 20 games, both numbers that lead the nation. Holloway has also asserted himself as one of the best players in the country with 23 points in 12 games played so far this season. Both look to take the Badgers to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014.