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Bears’ Carlson has golden touch

Hershey Bears defenseman John Carlson scored 4:21 into overtime to give the United States the gold medal at the 2010 World Junior Championships with a 6-5 win over Canada in Saskatoon, Sask., on Tuesday night.

Carlson recorded one goal and 23 assists for 24 points in 29 games with Hershey this season before being loaned to Team USA for the prestigious tournament, won by the Americans for the first time since 2004. He is two points off the AHL lead among rookies and ranks tied for fifth among all AHL defensemen in scoring.

Carlson’s game-winner ended Canada’s run of five consecutive gold-medal finishes. The native of Natick, Mass., was also named to the all-tournament team. He adds a gold medal to his Calder Cup championship, won after he made his pro debut with Hershey last spring and skated in 16 games during the Bears’ run to the 2009 title.

A first-round draft choice (27th overall) by the Washington Capitals in 2008, Carlson is scheduled to represent the Bears at the 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic in Portland later this month.