Carlson plays overtime hero

SCOTT FISHER, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 12:30 AM ET

SASKATOON -- John Carlson was devastated by a huge open-ice hit.

By a teammate. After the game was over.

That's what happens when you score the gold-medal winning goal in overtime at the world junior tournament.

The Team USA defenceman scored 4:21 into sudden death last night to give the U.S. a thrilling 6-5 victory.

After scoring the biggest goal of his life, Carlson admitted he was seeing a few stars, and not the ones on the jerseys of his teammates, who had piled on top of the hero.

It was suggested that was the hardest he's been hit the entire tourney.

"It might have been," Carlson said with an ear-to-ear smile. "I got tackled pretty hard.

"(Jason) Zucker came in and I thought I had a concussion there for a little bit.

"But it's all in good fun. I'll happily get a concussion with a gold medal around my neck any day."

While the Americans proudly wore their gold medals during interviews after last night's triumph, there wasn't a single silver medal spotted on any of the downtrodden Canadian players.

The Canucks overcame seemingly insurmountable odds once again as Jordan Eberle scored twice in regulation to force extra time.

Carlson said the break between the third period and overtime allowed the Americans to regroup.

"I told everyone in the room if we were told it would be 5-5 and going to OT in the gold-medal game before the tournament, we would have taken it any day," Carlson said.

"We had to adjust to what happened and play our game.

"We got a good break and I was lucky enough to be put in the right situation."

Carlson, a Washington Capitals first-round pick, said he was quick to jump into the decisive 3-on-1 rush, but didn't want to be the one to pull the trigger.

"Either Jack (Campbell) made a nice save, or someone blocked it, and all I saw was the puck going up the ice," Carlson said.

"I was looking to dish right away.

"I just kind of closed my eyes and let it rip. I just didn't want to throw it at his chest."

Teammate Tyler Johnson said the winning play couldn't have worked out any better.

"I wanted Carlson to have the puck and he did," Johnson said. "And I wanted him to shoot it and he did.

"It's an unbelievable feeling. It's like my Memorial Cup all over again."

Johnson won the Memorial Cup in 2008 with the Spokane Chiefs.

"In the regular season, you work six or seven months to get to that championship.

"Here, you have to gel really quickly.

"A lot of things can happen in a short tournament like this."


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