Photo Credit: Nathan Denette - Canadian Press

CanucksArmy World Junior Recap: USA 9 – 3 Czech Republic

The Czech Republic was the biggest surprise of the tournament, making it to the semifinals with help from 2017 12th-overall pick Martin Necas and 2018 draft hopeful Filip Zadina. After losing to Team Canada, however, the disappointment seemed too big. The Czechs tried little against a dominant Team USA in the “battle” for bronze.

If I were in a position to make this decision, the bronze-medal game wouldn’t even exist. Why? Because teams playing in them are nothing but disappointed, they aren’t playing for gold.

And that’s exactly what the Czechs looked like tonight. For the most part, they didn’t even try.

Still, goals were scored, and a game happened.

It was actually extremely close in the first period, which almost concluded with a 0-0 score, until Boston Bruins prospect Trent Frederic gave Team USA a 1-0 lead with just over three seconds to go.

That single goal obviously didn’t break the Czechs. But things didn’t get much better in the second period.

That’s two short-handed goals for the US within 12 seconds.

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Team USA added four more after that before the Czech Republic finally got on the board, thanks to a tally by 2018-eligible Martin Kaut, who tucked in a rebound from Libor Hajek’s shot.

The Czechs were unable to catch up and make it a tight game, but at least they started fighting a little bit later in the game, scoring a total of three times.

Team USA, however, had nine tallies, and won the bronze medal with a dominant 9-3 victory.

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Kieffer Bellows (2016 NYI 1st)

Kieffer Bellows, a New York Islanders first-round pick playing for the WHL Portland Winterhawks, set an all-time record for Team USA tonight. He recorded two goals to become the all-time highest-scoring American in a single World Junior tournament.

Bellows was extremely noticeable throughout the tournament – not only because of his goals but primarily because of the danger he created around the net.

In tonight’s blowout, he also managed to record his first assist.

Bellows had a disappointing draft+1 year at Boston, and his move to Portland looks like the perfect step. He has 19 goals and 40 points in 31 games so far this season and looks ready to jump to the pros sooner rather than later.

Trent Frederic (2016 BOS 1st)

Selected by the Boston Bruins 10 picks after Bellows was Trent Frederic. He, too, had a terrific game tonight, scoring half of Team USA’s goals.

The tournament hadn’t been great for Frederic, as he got just one goal and no assists in the first six games. Getting these four goals was a great (and certainly unexpected) finish for him.

Frederic was rightfully named the player of the game for the Americans.

Quinn Hughes (2018 NHL Entry Draft eligible)

Finally, Quinn Hughes had another excellent game. He didn’t stand out consistently, but he showed flashes that wow not only fans but also scouts. All scouts I’ve talked to currently have Hughes outside of their top five, but this is the kind of D-prospect you can easily justify picking higher than that.

Canucks fans are collectively hoping to get an elite offensive defenceman to build a lethal power-play unit with Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson. Chances are that Vancouver won’t win the draft lottery and won’t get Rasmus Dahlin. But, if they dropped to fifth once again, Quinn Hughes could be right there, and he could be a fantastic addition to the Canucks – even though he won’t be able to jump in immediately.