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: University of Wisconsin defenseman and Buffalo Sabres prospect Jake McCabe has provided strong, all-around play for Team USA at the 2013 WJC (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The defense for Team USA at the 2013 World Junior Championship has been very offensive, in a good way. The seven defensemen that have suited up for that country have totaled 10 goals and 17 assists so far in the tournament, with only the gold medal game left to contest.
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: University of Michigan defenseman and Winnipeg Jets prospect Jacob Trouba has been a force for Team USA at the 2013 World Juniors (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
While it is difficult to call a player chosen in the top 10 of the NHL Draft a steal, the Winnipeg Jets have to be feeling good about what they've seen from their 2012 first selection, defenseman Jacob Trouba, at the 2013 World Junior Championship.
Photo: Hotchkiss School forward Tyler Hill is one of the more highly regarded 2013 NHL Draft prospects from the New England prep schools (courtesy of Dave Arnold Photography)
For 48 years, Milton Academy and Noble and Greenough School have co-hosted a holiday tournament that has attracted 49 different schools and amateur hockey teams from the United States, Canada, and Sweden. In addition to the six New England states, representatives have come from California, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania to play.