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Bronze Lining: Bellows sets Team USA goal record, wins medal at World Juniors

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Nice work, kid. We appreciate it. Seriously.

Czech Republic v United Sates: Bronze Medal Game - 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship
Not a stretch to say Bellows is currently the only good Islander.
Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images

We’re sorry to interrupt the roaring, towering, embarrassing tire fire that is the rest of the organization, but just because the Islanders are punching their own ticket to the bottom of the division one lazy pass at a time, there’s no reason we can’t celebrate the last two weeks that 2016 first round pick Kieffer Bellows just had at the 2018 World Junior Championship.

In Friday’s bronze medal game against the Czech Republic, Bellows scored twice - his eighth and ninth goals of the tournament - to pass Jeremy Roenick for the most goals by an American player at the tournament. Bellows also had an assist, giving him 10 points in seven games.

Team USA won the bronze medal by blowing out the Czechs 9-3. On Thursday, they lost to Sweden in the semifinals 4-2. Bellows had a goal in that game, too.

Canada won gold by defeating the Swedes 3-1. After the game, Bellows was named one of the tournament’s All Stars.

His first goal Friday was a penalty shot, in which he busted out a move so smooth you’d need a glove to pick it up.

His second goal was more in line with his usual M.O., a heavy laser that finds its way into the top half of the net.

Roenick had eight goals in the 1991 tournament, in which Team USA placed fourth. That record stood for 27 years, so it seems like Bellows will be in the record books for a good long while.

Bellows, from Edina, Minnesota - and who is, in case you don’t know, the son of former NHLer Brian Bellows - also scored two goals in last year’s gold medal game to help Team USA beat Canada, including Islanders teammate Mathew Barzal. He’ll be 20 in June so I guess he won’t be able to compete in the tournament next year. But he’s pretty clued into the USA Hockey machine and he’s left quite a high bar for the next guys to clear as he returns to Portland of the WHL in pursuit of a Memorial Cup.

“This win was huge,” said Bellows. “It sets the stage for next year, for those guys who are returning. It shows how hard this tournament can be. There are so many elite players around the world, and elite teams. It’s a huge honor to get a bronze medal. It’s not the one we wanted but it’s great for USA Hockey.”

Good work, kid. On behalf of all Islanders fans, you’ve provided us with some light during a very dark time. The smiles are much appreciated.