Photo: Kitchener Rangers goaltender and Anaheim Ducks prospect John Gibson has been especially sharp in the nets for Team USA at the 2013 World Juniros (courtesy of Josh Holmberg /Icon SMI)
While there isn't just one element that contributes to a gold medal win at the World Junior Championship, one thing that is almost always needed to complete the feat is strong goaltending. And right now at the 2013 edition of this tournament, it appears that Team USA has that element locked up heading into the gold medal game.
Photo: Sarnia Sting defenseman and Phoenix Coyotes prospect Connor Murphy has been a solid defensive presence for Team USA at the 2013 WJC (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
After dropping a couple of tight, low-scoring encounters to rivals Russia and Canada, Team USA appears to have gotten their offense in gear the past couple of games. The USA has scored 16 times in those two games, against Slovakia and the Czech Republic, while giving up just three goals.
Photo: Highly-rated 2013 prospect Aleksander Barkov of Finland has roots in the country that is hosting the 2013 World Junior Championship, Russia (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Team Sweden is sporting the best power-play, coming in at 35.71%, while the USA tops penalty killing units at 88.24%. Interestingly enough, no team has been on the power-play more than Sweden and only Russia has been shorthanded less than the USA.
Photo: Sarnia Sting captain and Montreal Canadiens prospect Alex Galchenyuk has had a good offensive showing at the 2013 World Juniors (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
Team USA entered their New Year's Eve showdown with Slovakia knowing that they had to win to keep their medal hopes alive. And win they did, posting a 9-3 victory over the Slovaks to ensure that the USA lives to fight another day.
Photo: Oshawa Generals captain and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Boone Jenner suffered through a delayed entry to the 2013 WJC after sitting out a three-game suspension (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
For Dougie Hamilton and Boone Jenner, playing for Team Canada at the 2013 World Junior Championship represents an opportunity to avenge a disappointing showing at the 2012 edition of this tournament, one in which Canada settled for a bronze medal.