Augustine makes his mark
by Lucas Aykroyd|03 JAN 2023
Goalie Trey Augustine (#1) has shone between the pipes for the U.S. at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship.
photo: Chris Tanouye / IIHF
Trey Augustine’s favourite movie is Creed, the 2015 spin-off of the Rocky boxing movie franchise that became a global hit. The 17-year-old U.S. starting goalie at the 2023 World Juniors will undoubtedly face some attempted knockout punches – in the sense of great goal-scoring opportunities – versus Canadian scoring leader Connor Bedard and his teammates in Wednesday’s semi-finals.

However, if you ask American head coach Rand Pecknold about Augustine’s effect on his team as a whole, it’s clear he’s impressed with the kid’s ability to, shall we say, roll with the punches. And no wonder. The 181-cm, 83-kg phenom has won all four of his starts, amassing a tournament-best 1.36 GAA and a 93.8 save percentage.

“It has been really good,” Pecknold said. “I mean, for a's hard to imagine he’s a 2005 birth year, but he’s calm and cool. Just really quiet back there. He just keeps it simple and makes saves and gives us a lot of confidence.”

Top U.S. centre Logan Cooley, who’s second in World Junior scoring (5+6=11) to Bedard, echoes those sentiments. He and Augustine earned a silver medal together at the 2022 U18 Worlds in Germany.

“Coming into it, we didn't really know exactly who was going to be the starter,” Cooley said. “Of course, we have three unbelievable goalies. But in a tournament like this, you have to have solid goaltending to win a gold medal. He's hot right now, and hopefully you keep it going.”

Augustine, who has sharpened his skills with the U.S. National Team Development Program in his native Michigan, aspires to join the ranks of golden U.S. World Junior goalies who made their mark in the NHL too. Will he become the next John Gibson (Anaheim) or Spencer Knight (Florida)? It wouldn’t be a big surprise for this 2023 draft-eligible prospect, who is committed to Michigan State next season.

Augustine spoke with reporters after making 14 saves in the first two periods of the U.S.’s 11-1 quarter-final win over Germany. (Backup Andrew Oke played the third period.)

On his opportunity to be the U.S. World Junior starter

I honestly wasn't really expecting it. But you know, it's all about just doing your job here. And then when you’re called upon to play, you’ve just got to do the best you can.

On whether he gets nervous before big games

No, not really. I mean, at the end of the day, we're just playing hockey out there. The same thing I’ve been playing almost my whole life. So no, it’s been good. No nerves.

On the support he feels from his teammates

It's been huge. We’ve got a really good group here, and just to be able to go out there, knowing they’re behind me and support me, it's huge. It's been great.

On his favourite goalies

I like watching Sergei Bobrovsky, Frederik Andersen, and Juuse Saros.

On the comfort level with USA Hockey he got from playing the 2022 U18 Worlds

The past relationships definitely helped a lot, just knowing so many guys coming in. And obviously that whole experience there was just kind of getting a feel for what it's like to have the pressure and spotlight on. 

On the benefits of competing at the World Juniors

For me, it's experience. I mean, hopefully I get the opportunity to continue doing this for a couple more years here for the U.S.

On his goaltending style

I’m an athletic, butterfly-style goalie. I just like to use my size to my advantage and try to get to my spots quickly out there.

On how to approach Canadian superstar Connor Bedard as a goalie

Obviously a special player. Super-high prospect this year. It’s just trying to just know when he's out there. With guys like that, you’ve always got to keep aware of where they are on the ice.