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Kieffer Bellows helps U.S. advance to semifinals at World Junior Championship

Kieffer Bellows scores twice to lead USA past Russia and into the semifinals of the World Junior Championships.

A second goal from Kieffer Bellows with 7:29 left in the third period helped the U.S. beat Russia 4-2 in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Junior Championship in Buffalo.

The Americans will meet Sweden in the first semifinal on Thursday afternoon. The winner will face either Canada or the Czech Republic in Friday’s gold medal game.

With the score knotted up at two, Dylan Samberg strategically banked a pass off the corner of the Russian defensive zone allowing Bellows to send a one-timer past goaltender Vladislav Sukhachyov to grab the lead.

.@BellowsKieffer is popping bottles and breaking ties! His second goal of the game to lead Russia 3-2! #WJCinBUF

— WJC 2018 in Buffalo (@WJCinBUF) January 3, 2018

Bellows, a 2016 first-round pick by the New York Islanders, leads the tournament with six goals.

The U.S. held a 2-1 lead through the second period, but Andrei Altybarmakyan gave Russia a chance with a wonderful effort early in the third.

Andrei Altybarmakyan’s goal has Russia and USA tied 2-2 with less than 10 minutes to go in the third. #WorldJuniors

— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 3, 2018

Minutes after the Bellows goal, Russia had a glorious chance to tie the game, but Marsel Sholokhov’s redirection hit the post, much to the delight of U.S. netminder Joseph Woll, who finished with 27 saves.

A last-ditch effort to force overtime failed for Russia and it was captain Joey Anderson putting the game out of reach with an empty-net goal with 41.2 seconds remaining.

Other scores:
Czech Republic 4, Finland 3 (SO)
Sweden 3, Slovakia 2
Canada 8, Switzerland 2


Thursday, Jan 4 (NHL Network US / TSN)
Sweden vs. U.S., 4 p.m. ET
Canada vs. Czech Republic, 8 p.m. ET


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.