Kieffer Bellows (Edina, Minn./Portland Winterhawks) scored twice and Joseph Woll (St. Louis, Mo./Boston College) made 27 saves to lead the U.S. National Junior Team past Russia, 4-2, tonight in its quarterfinal game of the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship here at KeyBank Center.
“What a terrific effort by our guys against a quality opponent,” said Bob Motzko, head coach of the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team. “We saw success in all facets of the game, from our special teams to our goaltending. We’ll enjoy this tonight and tomorrow turn our attention to Sweden.”
Team USA (3-1-0-1/W-OTW-OTL-L) will face Sweden in the semifinals on Thursday (Jan. 4). The game is set for 4:00 p.m. ET at KeyBank Center with tickets available here. The contest will be broadcast live on NHL Network.
Bellows opened the scoring just 2:28 into the game with a power-play goal. After a shot from the point by Adam Fox (Jericho, N.Y./Harvard University) was blocked in the slot, Brady Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./Boston University) was able to tap it to the right face-off dot where Bellows one-timed it into the net for the game’s opening goal.
Marsel Sholokhov of Russia evened the score, 1-1, at the 10:32 mark when his backhanded attempt from the left side of goal snuck under the glove of Woll.
With 5:26 remaining, Yamamoto was able to put the U.S. up, 2-1, by batting home a loose puck in front of the crease to regain a U.S. lead entering the first intermission.
Both teams exchanged scoring opportunities throughout the second period, but were unable to convert. After a U.S. opportunity in the slot from Patrick Harper (New Canaan, Conn./Boston University) went just wide of the goal, Woll stood tall with a big pad save with 13:18 left to keep the score, 2-1, in favor of the U.S. entering the final 20 minutes.
In the final frame, Russia evened the score just 3:39 into the period when Andrei Altybarmakyan was able to skate down the left wall, cut towards the slot and slide the puck past an outstretched Woll.
With 7:28 to play in the game, Bellows netted what proved to be the game-winner with a slap-shot from the left face-off dot. The play started when Dylan Samberg (Hermantown, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth) sent the puck up the ice and off the end-boards where Bellows was able to outrace a Russian defender and bang home his second goal of the night.
In the final 90 seconds of the game, Russia pulled goaltender Vladislav Sukhachyov for the extra attacker in search of an equalizing goal, but Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth) was able to secure the win when he took a pass from Ryan Poehling (Lakeville, Minn./St. Cloud State University) and put home an empty net goal to account for the 4-2 final.
NOTES: Kieffer Bellows was named U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Russia, 43-29. For the complete game statistics, click here … Jim Johannson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) is serving as the general manager of Team USA for the ninth consecutive year … Bob Motzko (St. Cloud, Minn.) is serving as head coach for the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team and joined behind the bench by assistant coaches Greg Brown (Scituate, Mass.), Grant Potulny (Grand Forks, N.D.), Kris Mayotte (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Steve Miller (Littleton, Colo.) … USA Hockey’s international council, chaired by Gavin Regan (Potsdam, N.Y.), vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams … All U.S. games will be broadcast live on NHL Network.