Archive for WJC – United States

Furious Russian Rally Elminates Frustrated Americans In WJC Quarterfinal


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A couple of five-on-three power play goals scored one minute and one second apart in the latter half of the second period swung the contest and shutout netminding the rest of the way propelled RUSSIA to a 5-3 triumph over the defending gold medalist UNITED STATES in the first of four quarterfinal matches at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden.

After twice falling behind in the first period, the Americans took advantage of some rather poor Russian goaltending to assume a 3-2 lead as the players skated off for the intermission. Russia, who had finished third in Group B after defeating Norway and Switzerland but losing to Finland and Sweden, scored first when center MIKHAIL GRIGORENKO from the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres scored his fourth goal at this year’s annual tournament for the planet’s best players under the age of 20 years with a shot from close range. The United States struck back almost three minutes later when left wing STEFAN MATTEAU, the first round selection (# 29 overall) of the New Jersey Devils at the 2012 NHL Draft who now skates for the American Hockey League farm club in Albany, stabbed a loose puck near the goal line home after center JACK EICHEL, the talented 17-year-old from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, who will attend Boston University next fall, had created the dangerous chance with a wraparound move from behind the net.

Russia very quickly regained the lead only 21 seconds later when right wing PAVEL BUCHNEVICH of Kontinental Hockey League club Severstal Cherepovets, the third round pick (# 75 overall) of the New York Rangers at the 2013 NHL Draft, found the back of the American net. But then the United States, who fired 17 shots on target in a wild first period that saw the two teams combine for no less than 30 official attempts, equalized when right wing RYAN HARTMAN of the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers, the 19-year-old who the first round choice of the Chicago Black Hawks at the 2013 NHL Draft, scored his second goal here in Sweden on the backhand. And American left wing NIC KERDILES from the University of Wisconsin, the 19-year-old who was taken in the second round choice (# 36 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Anaheim Ducks, netted his second goal of this year’s World Junior Championships with a knuckleball-type effort after making an outstanding play at the Russian blue line settle the puck out of the air with his stick.

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Russia defenseman NIKITA ZADOROV (16), the dynamic 18-year-old who skated seven games for the Buffalo Sabres in the National Hockey League before being assigned to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League in the Canadian junior system, and captain ANTON SLEPYSHEV (9), the third round pick (# 88 overall) of the Edmonton Oilers at the 2013 NHL Draft who had three assists in the victory over the defending gold medalists, celebrate in the quarterfinal match with the United States at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden.
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The second period progressed well enough for the tournament’s reigning champions but the United States failed to extend its lead and would come to regret this soon enough. The Americans wasted two opportunities with the power play in the middle session before running into penalty trouble, themselves, roughly twelve minutes in. Within short order both Matteau and THOMAS DI PAULI, the University of Notre Dame right wing who was chosen in the fourth round (# 100 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Washington Capitals, were languishing in the sin bin and the Russians pounced twenty seconds later.

ANTON SLEPYSHEV, the Salavat Yulayev Ufa left wing who was playing the left point, slid a square pass over to his partner NIKITA ZADOROV at the top of the right face-off circle and the promising Russian defenseman simply rifled the puck right past United States goaltender JON GILLIES of Providence College, the 19-year-old who was tabbed in the third round (# 75 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Calgary Flames.

A mere five seconds thereafter, the United States again found itself with two players sitting in the penalty box after STEVE SANTINI, the Boston College defenseman who was reserved by the New Jersey Devils in the second round (# 42 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, was given a two-minute minor for delaying the game. Once again, the Russian five-on-three power play produced the same result on a play that was almost identical to the first strike — the captain Slepyshev provided a blue line feed for the first round pick (# 16 overall) of the Buffalo Sabres at the 2013 NHL Draft. To beat Gillies on this occasion, though, Zadorov hammered his one-timer from the central point area in between the face-off circles to score his third goal of this 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships.

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United States right wing HUDSON FASCHING (22), the freshman from the University of Minnesota who was tabbed by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round (# 118 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer, is turned away by Russia goaltender ANDREI VASILEVSKI of Kontinental Hockey League club Salavat Yulayev Ufa during the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships quarterfinal contest at the Malmo Isstadion in Sweden.
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The Russians, who also defeated the United States on home ice at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships twelve months ago, spent the third period focusing on the defensive aspects of its game while protecting what had already been gained. Indeed, head coach MIKHAIL VARNAKOV’s troops only generated three shots on target over the final twenty minutes of play. The United States, however, continued to shoot itself in the foot by taking two more penalties early in the last stanza and, thus, were forced to spend valuable time in its own end.

The Americans actually had two more chances of its own with the power play in the last period but were still unable to level terms. This from the team that had scored more power play goals (11) than any other country at this tournament. At least part of this was due to the improved form of Russia netminder ANDREI VASILEVSKI of Salavat Yulayev Ufa, the 19-year-old who was the first round selection (# 19 overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2012 NHL Draft. Vasilevski, who made four appearances (1.81 avg, .950 svpct) for bronze medalist Russia at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships but did not play against the United States in Ufa last season, finished with thirty saves against the Americans at Malmo.

The Russians ultimately salted the game away with less than half a minute remaining when Buchnevich shot the puck into an empty net to score his second goal at this tournament in Sweden but then things got a bit ugly when the New York Rangers prospect headed straight for the United States bench in order to gloat. For his troubles, the first line right wing for Russia got what appeared to be a stick in the face from a no nonsense American player standing up along the bench and a ten-minute misconduct penalty from the unimpressed match referees. There was bad blood at the bench area at the conclusion of the quarterfinal match at the Malmo Isstadion with several Russian players chirping and making obvious hand gestures, as well.

To his credit, Grigorenko apologized to the media on behalf of some of his teammates after the game … but the fact remained that Russia had earned the right to meet the host nation Sweden in the semifinal round of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships.

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Russia right wing PAVEL BUCHNEVICH (19) of Severstal Cherepovets intentionally but needlessly skates right past the United States bench moments after scoring an empty net goal to eliminate the Americans at the quarterfinal stage of the 2014 IIHF World Championships in Malmo, Sweden.
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January 2, 2014
2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Quarterfinal
Malmo Isstadion – Attendance : 1,876

RUSSIA 5 – UNITED STATES 3

06:17 … RUS – Grigorenko (Slepyshev)
08:50 … USA – Matteau (Eichel, Skjei)
09:11 … RUS – Buchnevich (Mironov)
11:23 … USA – Hartman (Matteau)
16:51 … USA – Kerdiles (Barber)
33:15 … RUS – Zadorov (Slepyshev) – ppg
34:16 … RUS – Zadorov (Slepyshev) – ppg
59:32 … RUS – Buchnevich (unassisted) – eng

shots-on-goal : USA 33 ( 17 + 7 + 9 ) – RUS 25 ( 13 + 9 + 3 )

penalty minutes : USA 12 – RUS 10 (plus two 10-minute misconducts)

referees : Kubus (Slovakia) and Linde (Sweden)

RUSSIA : Vasilevski – Mironov, Zadorov ; Lyubushkin, Tryamkin ; Bereglasov, Maslov ; Vasiliev – Slepyshev, Grigorenko, Buchnevich ; Zhafyanov, Osnovin, Barabanov ; Barbashev, Yakimov, Khlopotov ; Zykov, Busarov, Gimatov ; Skadnichenko

UNITED STATES : Gillies – Skjei, Carrick ; Butcher, Santini ; Slavin, Grzelcyk ; McCoshen – Kerdiles, O’Regan, Barber ; Matteau, Eichel, Hartman ; Erne, Copp, Fasching ; Hinostroza, Shore, Di Pauli ; Stepan

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Fucale, Canada Hold Off United States To Close Out WJC Round Robin


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Two rapid-fire goals early in the third period and standout netminding from an unflappable eighteen-year-old enabled the country that found the game of ice hockey, itself, to fend off its ever-improving southern neighbor as CANADA edged the defending champion UNITED STATES 3-2 in the last Group A round robin contest at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Sweden.

The Americans had much better of the play in the first period with more than twice as many attempts on target (13-6) as their counterparts. But Canadian netminder ZACH FUCALE from the mighty Halifax Mooseheads, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team who are the current holders of the venerable Memorial Cup as the champions of the entire Canadian junior system, was excellent in the first twenty minutes and prepared to have his best outing of the this tournament. The United States were also unlucky when Boston University defenseman MATT GRZELCYK, the third round pick (# 85 overall) of the Boston Bruins at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft, whacked a bouncing puck not only over the net, but the plexiglass, as well, on a great rebound chance with the net largely exposed.

The Americans did grab the lead while skating shorthanded early in the second period. Captain RILEY BARBER, the right wing from the University of Miami (Ohio) who now leads the United States with four goals in this competition, got a hold of a loose puck behind the net and stepped out in front to his right to quickly stuff the little black disc into the Canuck cage before the netminder Fucale could effectively react. Canada, who lost 5-1 to the United States in the semifinals of last year’s IIHF World Junior Championships in the Russian city of Ufa, were clearly stung by this development.

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Captain RILEY BARBER (right), the sixth round choice (# 167 overall) of the Washington Capitals at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft who has scored 11 goals in 18 NCAA games for the University of Miami (Ohio) this season, is one of three players on University of Minnesota head coach Don Lucia’s United States squad who won a gold medal skating with the American team at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships twelve months ago.
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The Canadians noticeably raised their intensity level in all areas of the rink after falling behind to their rivals to the south and began to apply some serious offensive pressure of its own. Highly touted right wing JONATHAN DROUN of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect who was the third overall player at the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer, smacked a shot off the iron nearing the midway point of the eighth Canada vs United States clash on New Year’s Eve day in the history of the IIHF World Junior Championships. And then center BO HORVAT of the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights, the Vancouver Canucks prospect who was the ninth overall player taken at the 2013 NHL Draft, rang his wrist shot off the post exactly two seconds after the halfway mark of the second period passed.

The Americans’ luck would not hold up for long, however, and the Canucks were soon level when ANTHONY MANTHA of the QMJHL’s Val d’Or Foreurs, 19-year-old center who was nabbed in the first round (# 20 overall) of the Detroit Red Wings at the 2013 NHL Draft, distributed an excellent pass to NIC PETAN, the 18-year-old center from the Portland Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League who chosen in the second round (# 43 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets, skating in on the left.

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The United States had a tremendous opportunity with the power play when Canada took a late second period penalty but would not get anything accomplished. However, it was the 15-times gold medalist at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships who continued to attack and changed the complexion of the game for good almost four minutes into the final frame. This when CONNOR MCDAVID, the first 16-year-old to appear for Canada at the planet’s premier tournament for players under 20 years of age since contemporary NHL superstar SIDNEY CROSBY of the Pittsburgh Penguins turned out at the 2004 IIHF World Junior Championships in Finland, picked a sensational moment to score his first goal at this 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Sweden.

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Canada right wing CONNOR MCDAVID from the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League is not eligible for the annual National Hockey League Draft until the calendar year of 2015.
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The Canadians exerted their authority on this affair even further by scoring a third goal on the power play exactly two minutes and nineteen seconds later. Drouin, who had been unfortunate with the pipe in the second period, showed his class by faking a shot and then walking around the sliding United States defenseman CONNOR CARRICK, the full-fledged professional who currently skates for the Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League. An excellent feed left CURTIS LAZAR of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, the 18-year-old who was the first round selection (# 17 overall) of the Ottawa Senators at the 2013 NHL Draft, little to do in front in order to extend Canada’s lead to 3-1.

The Americans made every effort to haul themselves back into the contest but, for the most part, had little luck with Canadian custodian. United States center JACK EICHEL, the talented 17-year-old from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, thought he had successfully negotiated the five-hole but the in-form Fucale was able to squeeze his pads and get his catching mitt down behind himself just in time. The Montreal Canadiens prospect made what was, perhaps, his best save of the game when the American rearguard Carrick, the 19-year-old who has already made three appearances and scored one goal in the vaunted National Hockey League for the Washington Capitals this season, had a clean breakaway with about five and a half minutes remaining.

For a brief moment it seemed as if Carrick might score but Fucale stuck out his last pad at the very last second to brilliantly thwart the commendable attempt.

The Canadian netminder did gift the United States a goal by failing to stop a simple wrist shot from STEFAN MATTEAU, the 19-year-old left wing who was taken in the first round (#29 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the New Jersey Devils and now skates professionally for the AHL farm club in Albany. Fucale would not permit the Americans to come any closer, however, and earned Canada a quarterfinal match with Switzerland in the process. The disappointed United States, meanwhile, must open the knock-out round against Russia.

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Canada goaltender ZACH FUCALE of the Memorial Cup champion Halifax Mooseheads, the second round choice (# 36 overall) of the famed Montreal Canadiens at the 2013 National Hockey League Draft, stops United States defenseman CONNOR CARRICK (28), the fifth round selection (# 137 overall) of the Washington Capitals at the 2012 NHL Draft, on the breakaway late in the third period of the last Group A round robin contest at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden.
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December 31, 2013
2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Group A
Malmo Isstadion – Attendance : 3,882

CANADA 3 – UNITED STATES 2

23:29 … USA – Barber (Slavin, Kerdiles) – shg
32:19 … CAN – Petan (Mantha)
43:54 … CAN – McDavid (Horvat, Morrissey)
46:13 … CAN – Lazar (Drouin, Pouliot) – ppg
57:15 … USA – Matteau (Fasching, Butcher)

shots-on-goal : USA 26 (13 + 6 + 7) – CAN 24 (6 + 11 + 7)

penalty minutes : USA 10 – CAN 6

referees : Bjork (Sweden) and Stricker (Switzerland)

UNITED STATES : Gillies – Skjei, Carrick ; Butcher, Santini ; McCoshen, Grzelcyk ; Slavin – Kerdiles, O’Regan, Barber ; Erne, Eichel, Hartman ; Matteau, Copp, Fasching ; Hinostroza, Shore, Di Pauli ; Stepan

CANADA : Fucale – Ekblad, Pouliot ; G. Reinhart, Dumba ; Pelech, Morrissey ; Bigras – Hudon, Drouin, Mantha ; Lazar, Petan, S. Reinhart ; Laughton, Horvat, McDavid ; Rychel, Gauthier, Anderson ; Leier

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United States Routs Germany, Remains Perfect In WJC Round Robin


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A committed and relentless attack against an already undermanned opponent (who then saw its one legitimate star player ejected from the contest early in the second period) produced an eye-opening six power play goals (including a record-tying four in that second period, alone) as the defending gold medalist UNITED STATES wiped out GERMANY 8-0 in a Group A round robin contest at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships being held in Malmo, Sweden.

Center HUDSON FASCHING from the University of Minnesota, the 18-year-old freshman from Burnsville who was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round (# 118 overall) of the 2013 National Hockey League Draft this past summer, used a German defenseman as a screen to score his second goal of the tournament and get the American ball rolling nine minutes into the contest. NIC KERDILES, the exciting University of Wisconsin left wing who was the second round pick (# 36 overall) of the Anaheim Ducks at the 2012 NHL Draft, doubled the advantage for the United States by netting on the power play roughly three minutes later. The real turning point would arrive just ten seconds into second period, however.

Germany star center LEON DRAISAITL, a talented 18-year-old who currently plays in the Canadian junior system for the Prince Albert Raiders and is expected be one of the first ten players taken at the upcoming National Hockey League Draft this summer, smashed United States right wing ANDREW COPP from the University of Michigan into the end boards from behind and was issued the standard five-minute major and accompanying game misconduct penaltes. It certainly was a tough break for the Germany junior national team, who were already missing three injured regulars and had only dressed 17 skates for the match against the Americans to begin with. To make matters worse for German trainer ERNST HOEFNER’s troops, soon enough right wing SVEN ZIEGLER of FASS Berlin went to the penalty box for hooking to present the United States with a 5-on-3 power play opportunity that would certainly not be wasted.

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United States defenseman BRADY SKJEI (2) from the University of Minnesota, the homegrown sophomore from Lakeville who was tabbed in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft by the New York Rangers, keeps close watch as goaltender ANTHONY STOLARZ (29), the second round pick (# 45 overall) of the Philadelphia Flyers at the 2012 NHL Draft who left the University of Nebraska – Omaha in the middle of last season and now tends the nets for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League in the Canadian junior system, controls a rebound with Germany right wing SVEN ZIEGLER of FASS Berlin (20) on the doorstep during the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Group A contest at the Malmo Isstadion in Scandinavia.
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University of Denver defenseman WILL BUTCHER and University of Notre Dame left wing VINCE HINOSTROZA both scored their second goals at this year’s IIHF World Junior Championships on the power play early in the second period to break the game wide open for the United States. American captain RILEY BARBER and MATT GRZELCYK, the Boston University defenseman who was nabbed in the third round (# 85 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins, also found the back of the net in the second period with the United States enjoying a power play situation to equal a record that was first set almost two decades ago. Ironically enough, it was Czechoslovakia (a sovereign nation which, of course, no longer exists) on that occasion who scored four power play goals in the second period against the United States at the 1988 IIHF World Junior Championships held in Moscow, which was, at that time, the capital city of the since-departed Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

United States defenseman STEVE SANTINI of Boston College, the 18-year-old freshman from Mahopac, New York, was was the second round choice (# 42 overall) of the New Jersey Devils at the 2013 NHL Draft seven months ago, compounded the Germans’ misery by tallying a sixth power play goal halfway through the final period. Hinostroza tacked on his second marker of the match and moved into a tie with Barber for the American team’s scoring leadership with three goals at this 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships. Grzelcyk, who also got his name on the scoresheet against Slovakia, now leads the United States with six points after three games at this tournament here in Sweden.

The United States will conclude its Group A round robin schedule on New Year’s Eve with a clash against their traditional rivals from north of the border, Canada. The always powerful Canadians, who have no fewer than twelve players who have been drafted in the first round by National Hockey League clubs on this year’s roster at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships, already have a blemish on their Group A record having lost to the Czech Republic after a shootout. To review, Canada were soundly defeated 5-1 by the United States in the semifinal round of the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships twelve months ago in Ufa, Russia.

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United States left wing VINCE HINOSTROZA (13) from the University of Notre Dame, the 19-year-old freshman from Bartlett, Illinois, who was the sixth round choice (# 169 overall) of the Chicago Black Hawks at the 2012 NHL Draft and a late invitee to the American junior national team training camp this year, nets his second goal of the game against understrength Germany during the final frame of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Group A round robin match at the Malmo Isstadion in Sweden.
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December 29, 2013
2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Group A
Malmo Isstadion – Attendance : 651

UNITED STATES 8 – GERMANY 0

09:09 … USA – Fasching (Copp, Skjei)
11:56 … USA – Kerdiles (Hinostroza) – ppg
22:21 … USA – Butcher (Eichel, Erne) – ppg
23:27 … USA – Hinostroza (Copp, Carrick) – ppg
31:46 … USA – Barber (Grzelcyk, Stepan) – ppg
33:57 … USA – Grzelcyk (Barber, Hinostroza) – ppg
50:04 … USA – Santini (Grzelczyk, Kerdiles) – ppg
53:46 … USA – Hinostroza (Shore)

shots-on-goal : USA 53 (13 + 22 + 18) – GER 18 (6 + 4 + 5)

penalty minutes : GER 45 – USA 8

referees : Piccott (Canada) and Linde (Sweden)

UNITED STATES : Stolarz – Skjei, Carrick ; Butcher, Santini ; McCoshen, Grzelcyk ; Slavin – Kerdiles, Stepan, Barber ; Erne, Eichel, Hartman ; Matteau, Copp, Fasching ; Hinostroza, Shore, Di Pauli

GERMANY : Klein – Bender, D. Tiffels ; Saeftel, Moser ; Botzenhardt, Wagner – Tuomie, Draisaitl, Kahun ; Laub, Eisenschmid, F. Tiffels ; Kammerer, Filin, Ziegler ; Neugebauer, Klopper

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United States captain RILEY BARBER (11), the University of Miami (Ohio) sophomore right wing who was chosen by the Washington Capitals in the sixth round (# 167 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft, is congratulated by teammates after scoring his third goal in as many matches at these 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships being hosted by the Swedish city of Malmo.

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United States Overpowers Slovakia In WJC Round Robin Contest


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The defending tournament champions effectively squashed a sincere attempt by their courageous opponents to stage a rally by scoring three times without reply in the third and final period as the reigning gold medalist UNITED STATES outscored SLOVAKIA 6-3 in its second Group A round robin contest at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden.

The Americans had assumed a 3-0 advantage over the course of the first 25 minutes by connecting on three consecutive power play chances. Youthful center JACK EICHEL, the highly regarded 17-year-old from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, who is expected to attend Boston University next fall, opened the scoring for the United States at the 16:53 mark of the first period after taking a pass in the slot from RYAN HARTMAN of the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers, the first round choice (# 30 overall) of the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks at the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer, and beating goaltender RICHARD SABOL of HC Banska Bystrica through the five-hole. The United States also added a second power play strike just as the first period expired, but not without a bit of good fortune.

A shot from Boston University rearguard MATT GRZELCYK, the 19-year-old sophomore from Charlestown, Massachusetts, who was nabbed in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins, deflected off the skate of a Slovak defender in front but fell perfectly for Terriers teammate DAN O’REGAN, the sophomore center from Needham, Massachusetts, who quickly netted his first goal for the United States at these 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships.

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United States center DAN O’REGAN (10) of Boston University, the 19-year-old sophomore who was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 National Hockey League Draft by the San Jose Sharks, goes top shelf to beat defenseless Slovakia netminder RICHARD SABOL of HC Banska Bystrica with exactly one second remaining on the game clock in the first period of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Group A contest at the Malmo Isstadion in Scandinavia.
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Hartman scored the Americans’ third consecutive power play goal almost four and a half minutes into the middle frame after taking a drop pass from University of Denver defenseman WILL BUTCHER, the 18-year-old freshman from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, who was chosen in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer by the Colorado Avalanche, and blasting a one-timer over the shoulder of the Slovakia netminder Sabol.

Meanwhile, the Americans were doing a good job to limit the effectiveness of Slovakia star center MARKO DANO of HC Slovan Bratislava, the first round choice (# 27 overall) of the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2013 NHL Draft just seven months ago. However, the plucky Slovaks, who have exactly three players on this year’s roster at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships who have already had their rights reserved by National Hockey League clubs, did fight back just after the halfway point of the contest to net a pair of power play strikes of their own and turn some heads at the Malmo Isstadion in the process. Slovakia skipper MILAN KOLENA of HC Slovan Bratislava and MARTIN REWAY, the smallish 18-year-old center who currently plays in Canada for the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, scored less than two minutes apart to breath new life into the underdogs, who had easily defeated Germany 9-2 in their first contest at this year’s IIHF World Junior Championships.

The first ten minutes of the final period featured some end-to-end stuff resulting in several chances for both sides but it was the United States who were able to net a critical goal when Grzelcyk got a hold of a friendly bounce after a point shot from fellow defenseman CONNOR CARRICK, the 19-year-old native of Orland Park, Illinois, who now skates professionally in the American Hockey League for the Hershey Bears, had gone wide of the Slovakia net. STEFAN MATTEAU of the AHL’s Albany franchise, the first round pick (# 29 overall) of the New Jersey Devils at the 2012 NHL Draft, extended the United States’ lead even further less than five minutes later. American captain RILEY BARBER of the University of Miami (Ohio) scored his second goal in as many games at these 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships after receiving an excellent backdoor feed from University of Michigan forward ANDREW COPP, the fourth round selection (# 104 overall) of the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2013 NHL Draft who had two assists for the United States against the Slovaks.

Reway, the fourth round choice (# 116 overall) of the Montreal Canadiens at the 2013 NHL Draft, added his second goal of the game with a little more than two minutes left in regulation but it was of little consequence to Slovakia.

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United States physical defenseman STEVE SANTINI (16) of Boston College, the 18-year-old freshman from Mahopac, New York, who was set aside by the New Jersey Devils in the second round (# 42 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, delivers a devastating hit on Slovakia right wing STANISLAV HORANSKY (21) during the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Group A contest at the Malmo Isstadion in Scandinavia.
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December 28, 2013
IIHF World Junior Championships – Group A
Malmo Isstadion – Attendance : 1,658

UNITED STATES 6 – SLOVAKIA 3

16:53 … USA – Eichel (Hartman, Butcher) – ppg
19:59 … USA – O’Regan (Grzelcyk, Kerdiles) – ppg
24:22 … USA – Hartman (Butcher, Eichel) – ppg
31:04 … SVK – Kolena (Cehlarik) – ppg
32:57 … SVK – Reway (Griger, Kolena) – ppg
49:33 … USA – Grzelcyk (Carrick, Di Pauli)
54:15 … USA – Matteau (Copp, Fasching)
56:34 … USA – Barber (Copp, Kerdiles)
57:52 … SVK – Reway (Griger, Gachulinec)

shots-on-goal : USA 47 ( 22 + 9 + 16 ) – SVK 30 ( 11 + 11 + 8 )

penalty minutes : USA 12 – SVK 10

referees : Papp (Canada) and Romasko (Russia)

SLOVAKIA : Sabol – Luza, Predajniansky ; Rusina, Gachulinec ; Valjent, Cernak ; Keckes, Dinda – Cehlarik, Dano, Lunter ; Griger, Reway, Kolena ; Minarik, Mlyncar, Horansky ; Skalicky, Simun, Tibensky

UNITED STATES : Gillies – Skjei, Carrick ; Butcher, Santini ; McCoshen, Grzelcyk ; Slavin – Kerdiles, O’Regan, Barber ; Erne, Eichel, Hartman ; Matteau, Copp, Fasching ; Hinostroza, Shore, Di Pauli

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United States defenseman MATT GRZELCYK (7) of Boston University and Slovakia center MARTIN REWAY (10) of the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques shake hands after being presented with the “Best Player” awards by IIHF World Junior Championships tournament officials at the Malmo Isstadion in Sweden.

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United States Cruises Past Czech Republic In IIHF WJC Opener


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The tournament’s defending champions wasted no time in scoring two power play goals in the first two minutes of the contest and thereafter had no cause to look back as the UNITED STATES easily skated past the pedestrian CZECH REPUBLIC side 5-1 in a Group A round robin match on the opening day of play at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships being held in Malmo, Sweden.

United States captain RILEY BARBER, the sophomore right wing from the University of Miami (Ohio) who was the sixth round choice (# 167 overall) of the Washington Capitals at the 2012 NHL Draft, got the Americans off to a fabulous start only eighty-one seconds into the game against the Czech Republic. After taking a short pass in the neutral zone from Boston University defenseman MATT GRZELCYK, the Americans’ assistant captain who was tabbed in the third round (# 85 overall) by the Boston Bruins at the 2012 NHL Draft, the USA skipper streaked into the offensive end down the left side and, from a very sharp angle out near the boards and not so far from the goal line, unleashed a seemingly-harmless, long-range backhander which Czech Republic goaltender DANIEL DOLEJS of HC Vitkovice made a clear mess of. Barber, to review, is one of only three holdovers from the American squad which won the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships in Russia last winter.

The Americans, again operating with the benefit of the man-advantage quickly doubled their lead barely two minutes into the international tilt. 17-year-old center JACK EICHEL, the highly touted teenager who has already verbally committed to attending Boston University for next season, made a sensational cross-ice pass which allowed ambitious United States defenseman WILL BUTCHER to one-time past the shell-shocked Czech shot-stopper Dolejs. United States left wing RYAN HARTMAN, the first round choice (# 30 overall) of the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks at the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer who is also one of the three American returnees from last winter’s title-winning squad, was also involved with the impressive puck movement on the power play strike finished with aplomb by Butcher.

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United States defenseman WILL BUTCHER (4) from the University of Denver, an unheralded 18-year-old freshman from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, who was set aside in the fifth round (# 123 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer by the Colorado Avalanche, beats defenseless Czech Republic goaltender DANIEL DOLEJS (2) of HC Vitkovice to complete a tic-tac-toe scoring play early in the first period of the one-way 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Group A contest at the Malmo Isstadion in Scandinavia.
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The United States added two more goals in the second period against Dolejs, the 19-year-old who appears regularly in the domestic senior elite league and was preferred by Czech Republic U-20 national team trainer MIROSLAV PREROST over MAREK LANGHAMER, the 19-year-old who has been playing in the in the Canadian junior system the past two years for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League. Langhamer, who was plucked in the seventh round (# 184 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Phoenix Coyotes, is one of only three players on the Czech Republic squad at this 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships whose rights have already been reserved by National Hockey League clubs. Dolejs, for his part, finished with 28 saves against the opportunistic Americans.

University of Minnesota center HUDSON FASCHING, the homegrown freshman from Burnsville who was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round (# 118 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, increased the score to 3-0 for the United States on the rebound shortly before the halfway point of the match after Dolejs had a difficult time with a hard shot from University of Michigan right wing ANDREW COPP, the homegrown sophomore from Ann Arbor who was nabbed by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the fourth round (# 104 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft last summer. Colorado College defenseman JACOB SLAVIN, the homegrown freshman from Erie who was chosen in the fourth round (# 120 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes, added a fourth unanswered goal for the Americans a little less than three minutes before the second intermission. A shot from University of Denver center DEVIN SHORE, the 19-year-old sophomore who was picked in the sixth round (# 168 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Ottawa Senators, had popped into the air in the crease and Slavin turned up at the side of the net to knock the puck home.

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United States captain RILEY BARBER (11) from the University of Miami (Ohio), the 19-year-old native of Livonia, Michgian, who totaled three goals and six points in seven games for the gold medalists at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships in Russia twelve months ago, collides with Czech Republic defenseman LIBOR SULAK (7) of KLH Chomutov near the blue line during the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Group A round robin affair at the Malmo Isstadion in Sweden.
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United States goaltender JON GILLIES of Providence College was not tested all that severely but stop 23 of 24 shots faced and did well to control his rebounds effectively. The United States defense, in particular, did well to contain dangerous Czech Republic captain and center RADEK FAKSA, the first round selection (# 13 overall) of the Dallas Stars at the 2012 NHL Draft who currently skates in the Canadian junior system for the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League.

The Czech Republic actually has an excellent hockey history and has produced world-class junior stars such as goaltender Dominik Hasek as well as scoring aces Jaromir Jagr and Robert Reichel in the past but, sadly, the Czechs have not been able to celebrate a medal of any kind at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships since 2005. The Czech Republic were able to spoil the American bid for a shutout, though, when defenseman MICHAL PLUTNAR, the undrafted 19-year-old who currently patrols the blue line for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League in the Canadian junior system, scored a power play goal almost six minutes into the final frame. It was little consolation against the United States, who, despite a noticeable lack of overall historical success at this level, are actually seeking a fourth medal at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships in the last five years.

United States left wing VINCE HINOSTROZA, the University of Notre Dame freshman who was not invited to the U.S. junior national team’s summer training camp and only earned his place on the American roster at this year’s IIHF World Junior Championships the hard way with noteworthy performances at the December training camp in Minneapolis as well as in the pre-tournament exhibition contests, closed out the scoring by beating the hapless Czech Republic goaltender Dolejs on the breakaway with just over two minutes remaining at the Isstadion in Malmo.

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United States netminder JON GILLIES (32), the third round choice (# 75 overall) of the Calgary Flames at the 2012 NHL Draft who honored as an NCAA (East) Second Team All-America follwing his freshman campaign for Providence College last season, turns away an attempt on goal by Czech Republic center DAVID KAMPF (17) of KLH Chomutov during the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Group A match at the Malmo Isstadion in Sweden.
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December 26, 2013
IIHF World Junior Championships – Group A
Malmo Isstadion – Attendance : 1,321

UNITED STATES 5 – CZECH REPUBLIC 1

01:21 … USA – Barber (Grzelcyk, Kerdiles) – ppg
02:02 … USA – Butcher (Eichel, Hartman) – ppg
29:23 … USA – Fasching (Copp)
37:03 … USA – Slavin (Shore)
45:47 … CZE – Plutnar (Kampf, Kase) – ppg
57:49 … USA – Hinostroza (Di Pauli, Carrick)

shots-on-goal : USA 33 ( 13 + 12 + 8 ) – CZE 24 ( 7 + 10 + 7 )

penalty minutes : CZE 8 – USA 6

referees : Stricker and Wiegand (both Switzerland)

UNITED STATES : Gilles – Skjei, Carrick ; Butcher, Santini ; McCoshen, Grzelcyk ; Slavin – Kerdiles, O’Regan, Barber ; Erne, Eichel, Hartman ; Matteau, Copp, Fasching ; Hinostroza, Shore, Di Pauli ; Stepan

CZECH REPUBLIC : Dolejs – Sulak, Plutnar ; Sidlik, Marcel ; Nemecek, Kostalek – Volek, Faksa, Pastrnak ; Zacha, Simon, Prochazka ; Kase, Kampf, Vrana ; Zdrahal, Sedlacek, Tomecek

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United States left wing VINCE HINOSTROZA (13), the University of Notre Dame freshman from Bartlett, Illinois, who was the sixth round selection (# 169 overall) at the 2012 NHL Draft, signals to the sparse crowd at the Malmo Isstadion after netting the final goal of the Group A game against the Czech Republic on the very first day of competition at these 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships.

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United States Final Roster For IIHF World Junior Championships Released


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University of Minnesota head coach DON LUCIA (center) will be calling the shots behind the bench for the UNITED STATES U-20 national team, which has finalized its roster one day prior to the start of the the 2014 IIHF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS being hosted by the Swedish city of Malmo.
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With the defending gold medalist’s initial Group A round robin contest against the CZECH REPUBLIC on the opening day of the 2014 IIHF JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS being hosted by the Swedish city of Malmo now less than twenty-four hours away, the UNITED STATES U-20 NATIONAL TEAM has, indeed, formally submitted its final 23-man roster to tournament officials.

As was speculated by this very blog two days ago, it is, indeed, the unfortunate University of Michigan left wing TYLER MOTTE, the homegrown freshman from St. Clair who was chosen by the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks in the fourth round (# 121 overall) at the 2013 National Hockey League Draft this past summer but did not appear in either of the United States’ two exhibition games against Sweden and Finland this past weekend, that was the very last skater to be released by the tournament’s defending champions.

UNITED STATES squad – 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships
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Goaltenders
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# 29 … Anthony STOLARZ ……… London (OHL jrs)
# 32 … Jon GILLIES ……………… Providence College
# 35 … Thatcher DEMKO ……….. Boston College

Defensemen
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# 2 ….. Brady SKJEI ………………. Minnesota
# 3 ….. Ian MCCOSHEN ………….. Boston College
# 4 ….. Will BUTCHER ……………. Denver Univ
# 6 ….. Jacob SLAVIN …………….. Colorado College
# 7 ….. Matt GRZELCYK …………. Boston Univ
# 16 … Steve SANTINI ……………. Boston College
# 28 … Connor CARRICK ………… Hershey (AHL)

Forwards
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# 9 ….. Andrew COPP …………….. Michigan
# 10 … Dan O’REGAN …………….. Boston Univ
# 11 … Riley BARBER …………….. Miami Univ
# 13 … Vince HINOSTROZA ……… Notre Dame
# 14 … Thomas DI PAULI …………. Notre Dame
# 15 … Jack EICHEL ………………. U.S.N.T.D.P.
# 17 … Nic KERDILES …………….. Wisconsin
# 19 … Adam ERNE ……………….. Quebec (QML jrs)
# 21 … Ryan HARTMAN …………… Plymouth (OHL jrs)
# 23 … Stefan MATTEAU …………. Albany (AHL)
# 22 … Hudson FASCHING ……….. Minnesota
# 25 … Quentin SHORE …………… Denver Univ
# 26 … Zach STEPAN ……………… Minnesota State

(United States National Team Development Program)

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United States right wing RILEY BARBER (16) raises his stick moments after University of Miami (Ohio) RedHawk teammate Sean Kuraly (background) scored a lightning-quick goal just 19 seconds into the lopsided 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships – Group B game with black-shirted Germany at the Ufa Arena in Russia twelve months ago.
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This particular UNITED STATES team spending the Christmas Holiday in Scandinavia returns exactly three players — goaltender JON GILLIES as well as forwards RILEY BARBER and RYAN HARTMAN — won were part of the successful American squad that traveled to Ufa in Russia last winter and won the gold medal at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships for only the third time in the history of American hockey.

Riley Barber of Miami University, the 19-year-old right wing from Livonia, Michigan, who was the sixth round choice (# 167 overall) of the Washington Capitals at the 2012 NHL Draft and is currently leading the # 12 ranked RedHawks with 11 goals in 18 NCAA games this term, has been named the captain of the United States for this upcoming tournament in Sweden. Barber, to review, scored three goals and added three assists in six games for the United States at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships twelve months ago. Ryan Hartman, the 19-year-old left wing originally from West Dundee, Illinois, who currently hones his skills in the Canadian junior system and has been averaging more than a point per game for the Plymouth Whalers (25 ga, 13 go, 26 pts) in the Ontario Hockey League, totaled two goals and three points after appearing in all seven games for the triumphant American squad the the annual IIHF WJC in Russia last season.

Gillies, the 19-year-old from South Portland, Maine, who was named an NCAA (East) Second Team All-America following a stellar freshman campaign for Providence College, made only one appearance for the United States at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championships twelve months ago. The third round selection (# 75 overall) of the Calgary Flames at the 2012 NHL Draft played the final 20 minutes of the United States’ 8-0 destruction of Germany on the second day of the round robin in Ufa twelve months ago. Gillies registered a total of seven saves that lopsided contest victory over the punchless Germans, just for the record.

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Providence College sophomore goaltender JON GILLIES (32), the highly rated Calgary Flames prospect who has been in top form for the # 5 ranked Friars (15 ga, 1.88 avg, .941 svpct) during this current 2013/14 NCAA campaign, stopped 38 out of 40 shots against a quality Finland side in an international exhibition contest at the Lindab Arena in Angelholm on Sunday and, in doing so, all but assured himself of the first string job between the pipes for the defending gold medalist United States at the upcoming 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden.

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United States – WJC Roster Almost Set


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United States left wing HENRIK SAMUELSSON (18) of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, the unfortunate 19-year-old whose well-known father (defenseman Ulf Samuelsson) represented Sweden at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships on three separate occasions in the early 1980s during his playing days, battles along the boards with Finland right wing ARTTURI LEHKONEN (28) of Kalpa Kuopio, the skilled 18-year-old who was chosen in the second round (# 55 overall) of the 2013 National Hockey League Draft this past summer by the storied Montreal Canadiens, during Sunday’s international exhibition match at the Lindab Arena in Angelholm, Sweden.
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The UNITED STATES JUNIOR NATIONAL TEAM released two more players on Sunday and has now moved to within one skater of the roster limit for the upcoming 2014 IIHF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS to be hosted by the Swedish city of Malmo. 19-year-old left wing HENRIK SAMUELSSON, the first round pick (# 27 overall) of the Phoenix Coyotes at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft who currently plays in the Canadian junior system with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League, appeared in uniform for the United States in the 3-2 triumph over Finland on Sunday but was one of the two unlucky Americans cut today, nevertheless. University of New Hampshire defenseman BRETT PESCE, the 19-year-old native of Tarrytown, New York, who was the third round (# 66 overall) choice of the Carolina Hurricanes at the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer, did not skate in the reigning gold medalist’s final exhibition contest in Scandinavia against Finland and was, indeed, the other player deemed surplus to requirements for the upcoming tournament by the United States management staff.

“We are pleased to have settled on our three goaltenders and seven defensemen for the tournament,” said JIM JOHANSSON, the assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey who is serving as general manager of this particular United States junior national team. “Due to a medical matter, we are still evaluating our forwards and expect to make a final decision by our first game (against the Czech Republic) on December 26th.”

University of Michigan left wing TYLER MOTTE, the 18-year-old homegrown freshman from St. Clair who was snapped up by the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks in the fourth round (# 121 overall) at the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer, did not appear in uniform for the United States in either of the two exhibition matches against Sweden and Finland over the weekend and could very well be the one American forward who must still stand down.

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United States defenseman BRETT PESCE (27), the stay-at-home sophomore rearguard who has registered exactly two points (one goal) in 19 NCAA games on behalf of the University of New Hampshire so far this season, tracks the puck in the corner during the recent international exhibiton contest with host Sweden at the Lindab Arena in Angelholm.

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United States Defeats Determined Finland In WJC Tune-Up


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United States forward NIC KERDILES (17) of the University of Wisconsin, the second round selection (# 36 overall) of the Anaheim Ducks at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft, prepares to face-off against highly touted Finland center TEUVO TERAVAINEN (20) of Jokerit Helsinki, the first round choice (# 18 overall) of the Chicago Black Hawks at the very same 2012 NHL Draft two summers ago, during the international exhibition between the two respective junior national teams at the Lindab Arena in Angelholm, Sweden.
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Two rapid-fire goals at the start of the third period and thirty-eight saves from one of only three returning veterans from the American squad which won the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships in Russia last winter powered the UNITED STATES to a narrow 3-2 victory over FINLAND in an international exhibition contest in Sweden.

The United States struck first less than ten and a half minutes into the game when Boston University center DAN O’REGAN, the sophomore who was tabbed in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks, netted on the power play to score his second goal in as many exhibition games in Sweden. The second period saw almost a complete reversal of fortunes as it was the Finns who now decisively outshot their opponents. Fittingly enough, it was Finland who leveled terms in the middle frame when skillful right wing ARTTURI LEHKONEN of Kalpa Kuopio tallied with the man advantage nearing the halfway point of the match.

The United States tipped the scales in their favor for good by scoring two quick goals in the early part of the last period. Right wing RYAN HARTMAN of the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers, the first round pick (# 30 overall) of the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks at the 2013 NHL Draft, hammered home his second goal in as many exhibition games in Sweden with a first-time blast from the right slot after center JACK EICHEL, the talented 17-year-old who has already indicated he will skate for Boston University next season, made a slick move to set up his passing angle. Less than three minutes later, University of Minnesota defenseman BRADY SKJEI, the first round selection (# 28 overall) of the New York Rangers at the 2012 NHL Draft, rifled a shot from the right point past Finland goaltender JUUSE SAROS of HPK Hameenlinna, the 18-year-old who was nabbed by the Nashville Predators in the fourth round (# 99 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft last summer.

The Finns were able to pull within striking distance after captain TEUVO TERAVAINEN, the 19-year-old native of Helsinki who totaled five goals and eleven points in six games at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships twelve months ago, capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play situation at the 11:33 mark of the third period. Finland, in particular, seriously threatened to equalize in the last sixty seconds but were agonizingly unsuccessful. United States goaltender JON GILLES, the 19-year-old from South Portland, Maine, who was named an NCAA (East) Second Team All-America for Providence College last season, finished with 38 saves and all but assured himself of the first string position between the pipes for the defending champions at the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championships to be held in Malmo, Sweden.

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United States goaltender JON GILLIES (32), the standout sophomore from Providence College who was the backup netminder on the American squad which captured the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships held in the Russian city of Ufa last winter, does the splits to stop the puck as Finland right wing ARTTURI LEHKONEN (28) of Kalpa Kuopio, the promising 18-year-old who was the second round pick (# 55 overall) of the Montreal Canadiens at the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer, hunts for a rebound during the international exhibition contest at the Lindab Arena in Angelholm, Sweden.
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December 22, 2013
Lindab Arena – Angelholm, Sweden

UNITED STATES 3 – FINLAND 2

10:21 … USA – D. O’Regan (R. Barber, N. Kerdiles) – ppg
27:32 … FIN – A. Lehkonen (V. Pokka, T. Teravainen) – ppg
42:23 … USA – R. Hartman (J. Eichel, Z. Stepan)
45:16 … USA – B. Skjei (T. Di Pauli, V. Hinostroza)
51:33 … FIN – T. Teravainen (A. Lehkonen, V. Pokka) – ppg

shots-on-goal : FIN 40 ( 9 + 18 + 13) – USA 39 ( 14 + 9 + 16 )

penalty minutes : USA 10 – FIN 8

UNITED STATES : Gilles – Skjei, Carrick ; Butcher, Santini ; McCoshen, Grzelcyk ; Slavin – Kerdiles, O’Regan, Barber ; Samuelsson, Eichel, Hartman ; Matteau, Fasching, Copp ; Hinostroza, Shore, Di Pauli ; Stepan

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United States center DAN O’REGAN (10) of Boston University beats Finland goaltender JUUSE SAROS (31), the youngster who has assumed the mantle of first string for the senior side of HPK Hameenlinna in the country’s domestic elite league, just inside the post to the glove side and scores the first goal of the international exhibition contest at the Lindab Arena in Angelholm, Sweden.

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Swedes Stifle Americans In WJC Tune-Up


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Sweden netminder OSKAR DANSK (35), the 19-year-old native of Stockholm who was chosen in the second round (# 31 overall) of the 2012 National Hockey League Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets and now plays in the Canadian junior system with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, follows the puck in the corner as veteran United States winger RILEY BARBER (11) of Miami University, one of only three holdovers from the American team which won the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships last winter, looks to battle his way through the Tre Kronor defensive wall during the international exhibition match at the Lindab Arena in Angelholm, Sweden.
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A forward line combination familiar from skating together this season in the country’s senior elite league accounted for all of the goals scored by the home side as counterattacking SWEDEN undid the visiting UNITED STATES 4-2 in an international exhibition contest just ahead of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships.

The Americans actually outshot the Swedes by a considerable margin throughout the entire game but it was the hosts who struck for two unanswered goals in the first period of play. Left wing ANDREAS JOHNSON of HC Vastra Frolunda Gothenburg, the seventh round selection (# 202 overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft, netted on the power play seven minutes in and linemate ALEXANDER WENNBERG, the first round pick (# 14 overall) of the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer, doubled Sweden’s advantage just 21 seconds before the first intermission arrived. The United States saw their first twenty-one shots on target in the first forty minutes turned aside by Swedish netminder OSKAR DANSK but finally broke through when right wing RYAN HARTMAN from the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers, one of only three holdovers from the American squad which won the gold medal at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championships in Russia and the first round choice (# 30 overall) of the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks at the 2013 NHL Draft, scored a little less than two minutes into the final frame.

Sweden right wing SEBASTIAN COLLBERG, the third member of the HC Vastra Frolunda Gothenburg trio and a second round choice (# 33 overall) of the Montreal Canadiens at the 2012 NHL Draft, left the Americans with a mountain to climb after scoring on rocket shot from the face-off circle after a nifty solo rush into the offensive zone at the fourteen-minute mark of the last period. Johnson applied the finishing touches for the Swedes by grabbing his second power play goal of the game roughly three and a half minutes later. DANNY O’REGAN, the sophomore center from Boston University who was tabbed in the fifth round (# 138 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks, salvaged a measure of pride for the United States by pulling one back for the United States with less than sixty seconds to play.

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Sweden right wing SEBASTIAN COLLBERG (15), the 19-year-old who made two appearances in the American Hockey League for the Hamilton Bulldogs last spring, has already signed a professional contract with the National Hockey League’s storied Montreal Canadiens franchise but is spending this entire 2013/14 campaign out on loan to HC Vastra Froluna Gothenburg of the Swedish elite league … United States left wing STEFAN MATTEAU (23), the first round selection of the New Jersey Devils at the 2012 NHL Draft, made seventeen appearances (one goal, two assists) in the crack NHL at the tail end of last season but has spent this entire term skating in the American Hockey League for the Albany Devils.
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December 20, 2013
Angelholm Arena – Malmo, Sweden

SWEDEN 4 – UNITED STATES 2

06:54 … SWE – A. Johnson (A. Wennberg, S. Collberg) – ppg
19:39 … SWE – A. Wennberg (A. Johnson)
41:43 … USA – R. Hartman (I. McCoshen)
54:00 … SWE – Collberg (C. Djoos, A. Wennberg)
57:25 … SWE – A. Johnson (C. Djoos, A. Wennberg) – ppg
59:04 … USA – D. O’Regan (J. Slavin, R. Barber)

shots-on-goal : USA 38 (11 + 12 + 15) – SWE 23 (6 + 6 + 11)

penalty minutes : USA 12 – SWE 8

UNITED STATES : Stolarz – Skjei, Pesce ; McCoshen, Grzelcyk ; Butcher, Santini ; Slavin, Carrick – Kerdiles, O’Regan, Barber ; Stepan, Eichel, Hartman ; Matteau, Copp, Fasching ; Di Pauli, Shore, Samulesson ; Hinostroza

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United States goaltender ANTHONY STOLARZ (29), the 19-year-old native of Jackson, New Jersey, who made eight appearances (2.56 avg, .898 svpct) for the University of Nebraska – Omaha last season before bolting to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League in the Canadian junior system just after the New Year, was the second round pick (# 45 overall) of the Philadelphia Flyers at the 2012 NHL Draft.

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Compher, Two Others Cut From United States Junior National Team


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Michigan Wolverines center J.T. COMPHER (17), the promising 18-year-old freshman from Northbrook, Illinois, who notched two assists against powerful Boston College in his very first NCAA contest earlier this fall, is currently tied for tenth in scoring among all players now competing in the Big Ten Conference’s brand new ice hockey league.
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University of Michigan center J.T. COMPHER, the talented second round choice (# 35 overall) of the Buffalo Sabres at the 2013 National Hockey League Draft this past summer, was one of three skaters released as the UNITED STATES JUNIOR NATIONAL TEAM trimmed its contingent to 26 players in mid-week and then flew off to Sweden for the first of two exhibition contests just ahead of the annual IIHF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS, which will officially commence the day after Christmas. The unfortunate other two cut from the American squad were Boston College right wing RYAN FITZGERALD, the 19-year-old who was tabbed in the fourth round (# 120 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins, and defenseman ANTHONY DEANGELO, the 18-year-old native of Sewell, New Jersey, who now turns out for Sarina Sting of the Ontario Hockey League in the Canadian junior system. The United States, who are the tournament’s defending champion and under the direction of University of Minnesota head coach DON LUCIA this time around, must pare down its roster to twenty-three players prior to U.S.A.’s opening match with the Czech Republic on December 26th.

Compher, the exciting 18-year-old who averaged a point per game in his first 14 NCAA games (five goals, nine assists) as a freshman for the highly-ranked Wolverines, broke a bone in his foot blocking a shot in practice prior to the United States junior national team’s exhibition match with Minnesota State and, according to some reports, could be out of action for as long as a month and a half. Two other current University of Michigan performers, sophomore center ANDREW COPP (14 ga, 9 go, 5 as) as well as freshman left wing TYLER MOTTE (14 ga, 5 go, 3 as), are still with the American squad hoping win the gold medal at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships for only the fourth time in the nation’s history. Last winter, the Wolverines supplied influential defenseman JACOB TROUBA to the United States outfit that triumphed in the tournament hosted by the Russian city of Ufa.

Trouba, then still just an 18-year-old freshman, led all blueliners participating at last year’s IIHF World Junior Championships with both four goals as well as nine points and was, accordingly, honored by the IIHF Directorate as the tournament’s Best Defenseman. The native of Rochester, Michigan, is actually eligible to compete for the United States at this season’s WJC to be held in the Swedish city of Malmo, too. But, of course, the former first round draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets, signed a professional contract last summer and now skates in the vaunted NHL.

The United States roster, for the moment, reads as follows :

Goaltenders
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19 – Jon GILLES …………. Providence College … 3rd rd – Cgy (# 75 overall)
19 – Anthony STOLARZ … London (OHL) ………. 2nd rd – Phil (# 45 overall)
18 – Thatcher DEMKO ….. Boston College

Defensemen
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19 – Brady SKJEI …………. Minnesota …………. 1st rd – NYR (# 28 overall)
19 – Brett PESCE ………… New Hampshire ……. 3rd rd – Car (# 66 overall)
19 – Matt GRZELCYK ……. Boston Univ ……….. 3rd rd – Bos (# 85 overall)
19 – Jacob SLAVIN ……….. Colorado College … 4th rd – Car (# 120 overall)
19 – Connor CARRICK …… Hershey (AHL) ……. 5th rd – Wash (# 137 overall)
18 – Ian MCCOSHEN ……… Boston College …… 2nd rd – Fla (# 31 overall)
18 – Steve SANTINI ……….. Boston College …… 2nd rd – NJ (# 42 overall)
18 – Will BUTCHER ……….. Denver Univ ………. 5th rd – Colo (# 125 overall)

Forwards
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19 – H. SAMUELSSON ….. Edmonton (WHL jr) … 1st rd – Phx (# 27 overall)
19 – Stefan MATTEAU ….. Albany (AHL) ……….. 1st rd – NJ (# 29 overall)
19 – Ryan HARTMAN ……. Plymouth (OHL jr) …. 1st rd – Chi (# 30 overall)
19 – Nic KERDILES ………. Wisconsin ………….. 2nd rd – Ana (# 36 overall)
19 – Thomas DI PAULI …… Notre Dame ……….. 4th rd – Wash (# 100 overall)
19 – Andrew COPP ……….. Michigan …………… 4th rd – Wpg (# 104 overall)
19 – Zach STEPAN ……….. Minnesota State ….. 4th rd – Nash (# 112 overall)
19 – Danny O’REGAN ……. Boston Univ ……….. 5th rd – SJ (# 138 overall)
19 – Riley BARBER ………. Miami Univ …………. 6th rd – Wash (# 168 overall)
19 – Quentin SHORE …….. Denver Univ ……….. 6th rd – Ott (# 168 overall)
19 – Vince HINOSTROZA … Notre Dame ……….. 6th rd – Chi (# 169 overall)
18 – Adam ERNE …………. Quebec (QMJHL) ….. 2nd rd – TB (# 33 overall)
18 – Hudson FASCHING …. Minnesota ………….. 4th rd – LA (# 118 overall)
18 – Tyler MOTTE ………… Michigan ……………. 4th rd – Chi (# 121 overall)
17 – Jack EICHEL …………. U.S.N.T.D.P.

(United States National Team Development Program)

United States junior national team hopefuls HENRIK SAMUELSSON and STEFAN MATTEAU are both sons of former National Hockey League players who both experienced the exclusive honor of lifting the Stanley Cup high over their heads. The father of the prolific Edmonton Oil Kings center who is a first round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes, former Sweden national team defenseman ULF SAMULESSON, skated in 1,080 NHL contests and celebrated the Stanley Cup title with the Pittsburgh Penquins in both 1991 and 1992 along the way. STEPHANE MATTEAU, the father of the New Jersey Devils prospect now assigned to the American Hockey League farm club in Albany, was a veteran of 848 NHL games and an important member of the noteworthy New York Rangers team that finally won the Stanley Cup in 1994.

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