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2017 World Juniors: Islanders Kieffer Bellows scores twice as Team USA beats Canada for gold

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An all-timer featuring two Islanders prospects ends with the Stars and Stripes on top in a shootout.

United States v Canada - Gold Medal Game - 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

What looked like a blowout early has became a classic. And two Islanders prospects played critical roles.

Kieffer Bellows scored twice as Team USA beat Canada 5-4 in a shootout to take its first World Junior Championship gold medal since 2013. Mathew Barzal had an assist on one of Canada’s goals and finished the tournament as one of its outstanding players.

Canada took a 2-0 lead in the first half of the first period of the World Junior Championship gold medal game on Thursday night. But a goal by Team USA’s Charlie McAvoy early in the second set up Bellows to tie the game with his first score of the tournament.

After a faceoff win by Luke Kunin, Tage Thompson’s point shot was tipped by both Adam Fox and Bellows standing in the slot. It hit the top corner behind Canada goalie Carter Hart to knot the game going into the third.

Bellows WJC goal

Barzal had an assist on Thomas Chabot’s opening goal of the game.

Early in the third, Bellows took a penalty and Canada took a 3-2 lead on Nicolas Roy’s goal. That’s less good. Canada also scored again a minute and change later to take a 4-2 lead on Mathieu Joseph’s crazy effort.

But wait! Here’s Bellows scoring his second of the game on a great feed from McAvoy to make the score 4-3. Wild!

Bellows 2nd WJC goal 2017

A minute or so later, Colin White tied the game for Team USA with about ten minutes left in the third.

Barzal tried to set up Pierre-Luc Dubois in the third but Dubois missed a wide open net.

That gave way to a scoreless but crazy overtime with chances and unbelievable saves at both ends. But another shootout, Team USA’s second in two days, led to Troy Terry doing his thing. He scored three times in the quarterfinal win over Russia and beat Hart five-hole to give Team USA the last lead of the night.

Both Barzal and Bellows had shots, but Terry was the only shooter from either team to score.

Post game, Barzal was demonstrably upset at taking home a silver medal. He was one of Canada’s best players and was all over the ice all tournament long. He had eight points (three goals, five assists) in seven games and was third on the team in scoring.

Barzal post game wjc

But in the end, it was Team USA who gets the cross-border bragging rights for another year. And Bellows gets to walk a little taller at next year’s Islanders training camp. Congrats to both teams.