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5 Observations: Mittelstadt shines as USA tops Canada 4-3 in SO

5 Observations: USA tops Canada 4-3 in SO
Posted at 7:23 PM, Dec 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-29 20:14:17-05

It was a storybook ending for Team USA, storming back in the blustering snow, overcoming a two-goal deficit to knock off bitter rival Canada 4-3 in a shootout.

Five observations from USA vs. Canada:


Team USA goals: three 
Casey Mittelstadt primary assists: three

Attention Jason Botterill -- Don't let Casey Mittelstadt leave Buffalo. Kidding aside, Mittelstadt continues to be USA's best player, adding three assists to his stat line against Canada. Three games into the tournament the Sabres 2017 first-round pick now has three goals and three assists, leading the tournament with six points. If nothing else, Mittelstadt is giving hockey fans in Buffalo a reason to be excited about the future. 

Oh and by the way, he was named the player of the game for the second time in three games.

Comeback kids

Despite falling behind 2-0 and 3-1, Team USA found a way to battle back and score twice to get the game into overtime. For much of the first 40 minutes the Americans were controlling play, they just couldn't figure out Canada goaltender Carter Hart. In the third period, something clicked as they scored twice in a matter of minutes to turn a two-goal deficit into a tie game. 

After their shocking loss to Slovakia, a comeback against Canada was exactly what the doctor ordered. One solid period could go a long way when the elimination rounds begin next week. 

Islanders got a good one 

Kieffer Bellows' strong start to the 2018 World Junior Championships continued when he fired a perfect shot past Canada goaltender Carter Hart in the second period. Up to that point, Hart had been perfect and it didn't look like the Americans would ever find the back of the net. With the goal, Bellows now has three goals in three games to start the tournament. 

The Islanders 2016 first-round pick has been one of Team USA's most consistent players at both ends of the ice, creating several chances while playing responsibly in his own zone. As if Islanders fans didn't have enough to be excited about, Bellows looks like the real deal. His shot in the shootout was also very pretty.

Winter Wonderland 

As the second period began the snow in Orchard Park really started to fall. With every passing minute more and more snow filled the air, turning New Era Field into a snowglobe. 

Sure, the snow slowed the game down and made things difficult for players but boy did it look awesome. If you were one of the 45,000 fans at the game, you definitely got an awesome Instagram picture.

And speaking of....

After several days of criticism for poor attendance Western New York and Southern Ontario showed up. In the first period the stands were bare due in part to long waits at the border but as the game moved along thousands flocked to their seats. In the end, the game set an IIHF World Junior Championships attendance record with 44,592. Maybe, just maybe, this will bring some more fans to HARBORCENTER and KeyBank Center for the remainder of the tournament.