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Fox, Parsons thrilled with WJC experience

The two captured gold with the USA at this year's tournament

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

It's a feeling Adam Fox isn't likely to forget.

One he can't believe happened, too.

He watched from the bench as Team Canada forward Nicolas Roy weaved down in the fifth round of the shootout, only to be stopped by teammate and Team USA goaltender Tyler Parsons.

The save sent 22 Americans over the boards in celebration as champions of the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. 

"It's something you almost can't believe just happened … that feeling of joy right when it happens is crazy," recalled the Calgary Flames prospect. "Being able to celebrate with that group of guys that you've just spent about a month with is so exhilarating.

"Going through that whole experience was something special.

"It's still pretty surreal. Obviously you're able to take some time and kind of realize the accomplishment you've just had. 

"It's still just crazy." 

So too was the fashion in which the USA won. 

Trailing 2-0 after 20 minutes and 4-2 in the third period, the United States battled back twice to force overtime, paving the way for Parsons' heroics. 

But, as Fox suggested, there was never any doubt that the Americans were a golden group.

"There were a lot of ups and downs for us, going down two goals twice and coming back from that," Fox said. "It was obviously a very intense game and at a lot of points it was almost a struggle. Going down two goals and clawing back … it was something really fun to watch. 

"The game was something surreal.

"I think we always believed we would come back. There was never a point we felt down and out.

"After the first we had to get one and then we'd start rolling. That was the mindset after the first, was to keep pushing it and it'll come. In the third when we went down 4-2, which was tough, I think it was just a constant mindset of being resilient and keep going and keep pushing and not just lay down and quit." 

Parsons, also a Flames pick from 2016, helped in that.

After surrendering the fourth goal, the 19-year-old slammed the door shut on Canada's final 23 shots -- including 17 in overtime -- and stopped all five shooters -- including Roy -- to capture gold. 

"Anytime you go down in the game you think you've got to shut the door and see if the boys can bury a couple goals," said Parsons, who went undefeated in the tournament and posted a 2.18 GAA and .917 save percentage in the tournament.

"We ended up burying and tying it again.

"I knew I couldn't give up anything from there.

"Overtime I saw a lot of shots. If you let one in it's over.

"I had to make sure that didn't happen." 

It was Fox who helped put Parsons and the United States in that do-or-die position.

After assisting on the first two Team USA goals in the second period, Fox found Colin White with a slap-pass to the right of Team Canada goaltender Carter Hart that White deflected to tie the game 4-4 and force overtime.

"We never felt out of the game," said Fox, who finished the World Juniors with four assists. "We had a great group of guys. Everyone believed we'd be able to come back and we were able to, which was good." 

And the results were golden for Team USA. 

"Every time I look at the gold medal I'll think about that whole team, that whole staff," Parsons said. "It was an unbelievable experience and one I'll never forget for sure. 

"We had a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun during the tournament. We were a really successful team. It was really nice.

"We all looked forward to that anthem after the game and we ended up hearing it.

"It was really nice."

And a feeling Parsons won't soon forget.

"It means the world," he said.

"If I wasn't here I'd be overseas.

"To win that gold medal and bring it home, it's our way of fighting for our country on the ice and battling it out and bringing home that gold to the USA was pretty special."

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