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Team USA blows out Czech Republic to win bronze medal at 2018 World Juniors

The Americans win a medal at the World Juniors for the third consecutive year.

Czech Republic v United Sates: Bronze Medal Game - 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images

Bruins prospect Trent Frederic racked up four goals and Islanders prospect Kieffer Bellows added two more as Team USA crushed the Czech Republic, 9-3, to win the bronze medal at the 2018 World Junior Championships. It’s the third straight year that the United States has won a medal, the longest run in program history.

The Americans didn’t let a disappointing semifinal loss to Sweden the night before prevent them from finishing strong in Buffalo. The team scored six goals in the second period alone, and built a lead large enough that even a ferocious Czech effort in the third period was rendered meaningless.

Frederic, who entered Friday with just one point in six games, saved his best for last to power the U.S. to resounding victory. Only 11 players had scored that many goals in the entire tournament before this game.

He scored his first goal of the game on the penalty kill with just four seconds left in the first period. The winger poked free the puck for a breakaway, then fired a perfect shot to beat goaltender Josef Korenar (Sharks) for the 1-0 lead.

Frederic would add two more before intermission for a hat trick in the second period alone, then he scored his fourth goal on a power play in the third period to extend the U.S. lead after the Czech Republic opened with its first two goals of the game. It was an incredible finish to the tournament for the 2016 first-round pick.

The second period was where this game became a total rout. The U.S. scored six goals to extend their lead to 7-0, at which point the game was pretty much out of reach. The Czech Republic changed goalies after the third goal of the game, but the Americans scored four times on Jakub Skarek (2018 draft prospect) before Korenar returned in the third period.

Bellows passed Jeremy Roenick for the most goals by an American at the World Juniors with his two-goal effort. He finishes the tournament with nine goals in seven games, a remarkable feat that tops the eight goals Roenick scored in 1991. His first goal of the game came on a penalty shot.

Islanders fans will probably have fun watching this guy skate next to Mathew Barzal in the near future.

Eventually the Czechs got on the scoreboard as the teams traded goals in the third period. Martin Kaut, Radovan Pavlik, and Daniel Kurovsky scored on Jake Oettinger, but the U.S. added two more to keep distance.

This may not be the result that the Americans and their fans were hoping for entering a tournament on home ice, but it was still an impressive finish from a team that showed flashes of greatness. Wins over Canada, Russia, Finland, and now the Czech Republic prove this team was worthy of its bronze medal, even if a stacked Sweden team proved too much in the semifinals.

And hey, with top 2019 NHL Draft prospect Jack Hughes leading the way, next year’s Team USA could be better than ever. The future is bright for American hockey.