Following semifinal wins, Rangers prospects Braden Schneider and Brett Berard, representing Canada and the United States respectively, are set to face each other on Tuesday night (9:30 pm ET) in the World Junior Championship Gold Medal Game.
Schneider has had an up-and-down tournament but played a massive role in Canada’s 5-0 win over Russia on Monday to send them to their second-straight WJC final. Schneider earned an early assist after he sprung Colorado Avalanche prospect Alex Newhook for the opening goal just 59 seconds into the game. Schneider then beat Russian goaltender Yaroslav Askarov with a shot from above the left circle in the second period to extend the lead to 4-0.
Defensively, Schneider played maybe his best defensive game of the tournament as well, consistently closing on gaps against opposing rushes and playing a very physical game in the defensive end.
Rangers 2020 fourth-round pick Dylan Garand will be on the bench as Canada’s backup goaltender.
Brett Berard, who entered training camp as a toss-up to even make the roster in any capacity, has become a key fixture on a USA third line which has been a surprising X-Factor in the team’s run. He was fairly muted in the USA’s dramatic 4-3 win over Finland in Monday’s semifinal but has registered a goal and four assists in six games and has been one of the team’s most relentless and successful forecheckers. Berard has earned a lot of mainstream appreciation for his performances in the tournament.
Hunter Skinner, a 2019 fourth-round pick, is also on the US roster but has only dressed for one game, playing 1:04 in the team’s 5-2 win over Slovakia on Saturday.
Either Schneider and Garand or Berard and Skinner will be the first New York Rangers prospects to win gold at the World Junior Championship since Aleksi Saarela did with Finland in 2016. Also notably, Adam Fox won gold representing the US in 2017, while Brett Howden earned the honor with Canada in 2018.