The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship may be over, but memories of the amazing goals scored by U20 stars remain fresh and vivid. There were so many highlight-reel moments between 25 December and 5 January that it’s hard to pick a top-10 goals list.
But hey, let’s take a shot! (Pun fully intended.) Here is IIHF.com’s countdown of the top 10 goals of the 2021 World Juniors at Edmonton’s Rogers Place.
10) Arthur Kaliyev (USA): 1-0 vs. Slovakia, 2 January
On Christmas Eve, IIHF.com’s Andrew Podnieks described Kaliyev as “perhaps the best pure goal-scorer in the tournament.” The top-line American winger certainly fit that description when he opened the scoring with a lightning one-timer in the 5-2 quarter-final win over Slovakia.
Kaliyev would also put that shot to advantage with his 4-3 winner versus Finland in the semi-final with just 1:16 left. However, Matthew Boldy’s no-look feed on Kaliyev’s goal against the Slovaks made it extra-special.
9) Dylan Cozens (CAN): 1-0 vs. Czech Republic, 2 January
Dubbed the “Workhorse from Whitehorse” by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Cozens was Canada’s best forward in Edmonton. He drew first blood at 8:22 in the 3-0 victory over the Czech Republic, beating goalie Nick Malik on a thrilling breakaway.
Cozens, who led these World Juniors with eight goals and cracked the media all-star team, showed great focus to snare Connor McMichael’s long pass and convert his opportunity with Czech skaters hot on his heels.
8) Elmer Soderblom (SWE): 5-1 vs. Czech Republic, 26 December
You wouldn’t necessarily expect the tournament’s tallest forward to be adept at scoring with his stick between his legs. However, Soderblom – who’s officially 202 cm and 108 kg – added some serious “Wow!” factor with how he converted Lucas Raymond’s power-play set-up.
The 19-year-old Frolunda winger’s only other goal was a mirror image of this one in the 3-2 quarter-final loss to Finland.
7) Kasper Simontaival (FIN): 1-1 vs. USA, 4 January
Speaking of mirror images, Simontaival scored two of his four goals in nearly identical fashion against the Americans in the semi-finals. His formula was simple: get to the slot, wait for a beautiful feed from Kasper Puutio, and fire the puck past goalie Spencer Knight.
This 18-year-old Tappara product’s goal-scoring prowess was a sharp departure from the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he had zero goals but tied for the tournament lead in assists (7).
6) Lucas Raymond (SWE): 1-0 vs. Finland, 2 January
The Detroit Red Wings drafted Raymond fourth overall in 2020 due to his high-end skill and ability to shine in big games. The Frolunda-trained hero of the 2019 U18 Worlds in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden – who had a hat trick, including the OT winner, against Russia in the final – got the Juniorkronorna on the board first against Finland in the quarter-final.
Even though the Swedes squandered a two-goal lead and lost 3-2, Raymond’s faking a cross-ice pass before beating goalie Kari Piiroinen high to the short side was a thing of beauty.
5) Tim Stutzle (GER): 2-0 vs. Switzerland, 30 December
Fans worldwide couldn’t get enough of Tim Stutzle’s heroics as he captained the shortstaffed Germans to their first quarter-final berth ever. Leading all forwards with an average ice time of 25:40, the 18-year-old first-round pick of the Ottawa Senators (#3 overall, 2020) came up huge with five points in a crucial 5-4 win over the Swiss.
Old-school observers compared the reckless abandon of this fruitful rush to the glory days of Glenn Anderson and Pavel Bure.
4) Filip Koffer (CZE): 1-0 vs. Russia, 27 December
Context is everything, and while Filip Koffer provided a great finish on the Czech Republic’s first goal in the 2-0 upset over Russia, the lion’s share of the credit belonged to set-up man Jakub Rychlovsky.
The Russians had kept the Czechs hemmed in the defensive zone for more than a minute when Rychlovsky made off with the puck. The Bili Tygri Liberec forward didn’t look gassed as he busted down the left side before pivoting to throw a perfect pass into the high slot.
3) Vasili Ponomaryov (RUS): 1-0 vs. Germany, 2 January
Ponomaryov, an 18-year-old Carolina Hurricanes prospect, got off to a hot start with two goals in Russia’s 5-3 win over the Americans. Yet his shorthanded breakaway goal in the 2-1 quarter-final win over Germany was his masterpiece.
On a deadly counterattack, Ponomaryov picked up defenceman Semyon Chistyakov’s stretch pass in the neutral zone. Stickhandling in unimpeded, Ponomaryov did a shoulder fake before going to the forehand and tucking the puck past German netminder Florian Bugl.
2) Tim Stutzle, 2-2 vs. Slovakia, 28 December
With the defensive awareness of modern players, it’s not easy to go end to end and score. When Stutzle picked up the puck behind the German net on the power play, nobody could have predicted what would happen next. His solo rush into Slovakia’s zone was jaw-dropping, and Stutzle’s shot off Slovak goalie Simon Latkoczy's shoulder fortunately deflected in off defenceman Simon Becar.
While Mario Zimmermann would add the 4-3 overtime winner on another German power play, Stutzle stole the show. Stutzle’s 10 points in five games made him a tournament all-star.
1) Alex Turcotte (USA): 1-0 vs. Canada, 5 January
Some goals make highlight reels because they’re inherently spectacular, and others stand out because of other special elements. Case in point: Turcotte’s golden goal against archrival Canada at 13:25 of the final. This was the first time Canada had trailed or allowed an even-strength goal. It came against Devon Levi, who’d be named Best Goalie with his record-setting 0.75 GAA and 96.4 save percentage.