SportsPulse: NHL insider Kevin Allen breaks down the first half of the season and gives us his picks for best story line, MVP and rookie of the year.
USA TODAY Sports
BUFFALO – Kieffer Bellows one-upped Jeremy Roenick, Trent Frederic scored four times and the United States has a bronze medal to show for it.
As consolation prizes go, it wasn’t a bad haul for the USA, which rolled to a 9-3 victory against the Czech Republic in the bronze-medal game at the world junior championships on Friday.
“You see the resilience in our group,” captain Joey Anderson said of how the defending champion Americans shook off the disappointment of a 4-2 semifinal loss to Sweden a day earlier. “The staff, they make sure the kids know there’s a great deal of pride in medaling. Even though it’s not gold, this bronze medal means a ton.”
Bellows scored twice, including once on a penalty shot, to up his tournament-leading total to nine goals. That’s one better than Roenick — the former 18-year NHL veteran and USA Hockey Hall of Famer — scored at the 1989 world juniors.
“My success came from all my great teammates,” said Bellows, the son of former NHL star Brian Bellows and the first-round selection by the New York Islanders in the 2016 draft. “Had a lot of fun the last two years, and it’s going to be tough to never come back to this”
Then there was Frederic, who fell one goal short of matching a U.S. single-game junior tournament record. Wally Chapman scored five times against Switzerland in 1984 and Chris Bourque had five against Norway in 2005.
Anderson and Patrick Harper had a goal and assist each, and Ryan Poehling also scored in a game in which the U.S. built a 7-0 lead through two periods.
The Americans earned a medal for a third consecutive year to mark the nation’s longest streak in tournament history. The U.S. also finished third in 2016, while upping its medal…