By Steven Ellis – Eurohockey.com
The United States have won the bronze medal at the 2018 World Juniors in Buffalo after stomping the Czech Republic 9-3 on Friday evening.
The Czechs simply did not have much steam in the game, showing signs of struggles ever since their victory against Finland on Tuesday to place them in the medal round. They failed to record a shot until the 12th minute of the game and recorded just three in a 13 minute span that found its way through two periods.
The Americans, however, didn’t want to leave the tournament empty-handed. With just three seconds left in the game, Trent Frederic scored on a rush after beating out Martin Kaut to the puck, firing it past Josef Korenar to make it 1-0 heading into the second.
The game fell apart quickly for the Czech Republic after that, with USA taking the 5-0 lead into the halfway point in the game. Just nine seconds into the middle stanza, the shot after Frederic’s, Ryan Poehling got his first of two goals after Joey Anderson set him up for the rush down the ice. Poehling took a perfect shot that beat Korenar high, putting the Americans up by two.
Four minutes later, America’s leader made it 3-0. Anderson would get one of his own after tipping in Brady Tkachuk’s shot with his foot, chasing Korenar from the net in favour of Jakub Skarek.
Frederic, a Boston Bruins prospect who had an up and down tournament on the US fourth line, finished the tournament with his best game of the event. He would score two more goals, including the 6-0 goal that USA held for much of the second. Not many fans took part in the typical hat-throwing exercise, with just four hats landing on the ice following the goal.
Between Frederic’s two goals was Kieffer Bellows’ second penalty shot goal of the tournament. The goal put him among American greats after tying Jeremy Roenick for the most goals by an American in a single tournament with eight. Before the final minute would begin, however, Bellows would score one more goal, putting him in sole possession of first, and just two behind Roenick for most goals in World Junior history by an American.
The Czech Republic would get two reasons to cheer early in the third, but it didn’t matter much in the final result. Martin Kaut would score 43 seconds into the third on the power play after tipping in Libor Hajek’s shot, only to have Radovan Pavlik put one more past Jake Oettinger to make it 7-2. Frederic would score his fourth goal game and Patrick Harper would get one late, while Daniel Kurovsky would get the Czechs to smile once more, but the United States would hold on for the 9-3 victory to win the bronze medal.
The win would give the Americans their sixth bronze medal and third medal in a row, giving them the longest streak after knocking off Russia before they could take their eighth. It would also be their second medal on home soil in six attempts, both being of the bronze variety.
The Czechs could still hang their heads high with the loss, as it was still their best placement since the 2005 World Juniors. The Czechs can bring back 11 players next year, including many of their players like Jakub Galvas and Filip Zadina.