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BELLOWS with a BIG Day for Team USA

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Kieffer Bellows

New York Islanders forward Kieffer Bellows notched points in Team USA’s first two games of the IIHF World Championships but failed to continue that point streak in Team USA’s 4-1 loss to Finland on May 16.

However, Kieffer Bellows made up for it with a two-goal performance against Great Britain on Thursday morning, which earned him the Player of the Game accolade for Team USA.

Bellows played a total of 16:30 minutes in the win, as for the first time in the tournament, head coach David Quinn placed him on the top line with Adam Gaudette (Ottawa) and Sean Farrell (Montreal).  And that move paid off.

In the first two periods, 9:38 TOI, Bellows recorded two shots on goal. In the third period, 6:52 TOI, Bellows recorded six shots on goal, scoring on two of them.

For context, Bellows averaged just 11:52 minutes per game with the New York Islanders this season.

Both of Bellows’s goals in the third came on the power play. Each showcased a multitude of positives for the 23-year-old.

The first goal from Bellows came 48 seconds into the third period, and it came due to strong positioning.

With his teammate Sean Farrell coming around the Great Britain net, Bellows had his stick down and ready. With netminder Jackson Whistle out of position, Bellows quickly shot the puck into the net, which gave Team USA a 2-0 lead.

What we saw from Kieffer Bellows this season with the New York Islanders was the growth of his positioning and hockey IQ. Whether it had been throwing the puck in the right area or driving a lane to create space for a teammate, his growth in that regard has been rather important, especially in the Islanders system.

But of equal importance, Bellows also put himself in the right spots and executed later in the season, which he did on this goal.

His second goal of the game is one that would put a smile on the face of Islanders analyst Butch Goring as he sent the puck to the Toy Department from just inside the right circle.

This is an NHL-caliber shot from the young forward, a forward who scored just six goals in 45 games. In 21:04 total minutes on the Islanders power play this season, Bellows did not score a power-play goal, something he accomplished twice Thursday.

And that kind of shot is a shot that on the power play could be lethal given the accuracy of it.

Great Brittain is not a hockey powerhouse, and against NHL talent, both of his shots Thursday may not enter the back of the net. But for Bellows, this tournament is about continuing to do the right things and continue to build on the game we saw towards the end of the 2021-22 season.

So far, he has done that with three goals and an assist in four games with Team USA.

Kieffer Bellows and the Americans (2-1-0-1) are back in action on May 21 against the Group B leaders in Sweden (3-1-0-0).

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