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Posted On Friday, 08.10.2012 / 7:09 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Sweden happy with performance at camp

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg said it wasn't a perfect game, but he'll leave this year's USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp on a positive note after a 5-2 win against Finland at Herb Brooks Arena on Friday.

Sweden went 3-1 in its four games, capped by Friday's win.

"I think we actually looked a little bit tired after a long tournament," Ronnberg told NHL.com. "It was a good game, but not the best. It's still OK, but we know we can play better, especially in the power play. We have to be more effective there."

Sweden went 2-for-8 on the power play, but one came on a five-on-three advantage.

That goal was a rocket by team captain and Edmonton Oilers prospect Oscar Klefbom, who skated into a slap shot from above the right circle that nearly tore through the back of the net.

"He has been all over me that he should be on the power play and now he showed me why," Ronnberg said.

Ronnberg also was happy with the play of Victor Rask, who had a goal and an assist in the win.

"I think he has been one of the most consistent players in our team," Ronnberg said. "He's really strong on the puck and he's a really reliable two-way player for us."

Rask, a 2011 second-round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, is one of six players who came to this year's camp with the experience of having won the 2012 World Junior Championship.

"I know what it takes to win the world championship," he told NHL.com. "I'm just trying to help the other guys coming into the team."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Friday, 08.10.2012 / 6:10 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Sweden defeats Finland, 5-2

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Finland's Juuso Ikonen scored the only goal of the third period, but that was all it could get as Sweden finished its time in Lake Placid with a 5-2 win.

Carolina Hurricanes prospect Victor Rask had a goal and an assist, and Jakob Lilja, Rasmus Bengtsson, Oscar Klefbom and William Karlsson each added a goal. Goalie Niklas Lundstrom made 38 saves.

Janne Juvonen, who gave up all eight goals in Sweden's 8-2 win against Finland on Tuesday, stopped 11 shots after starting the third period in goal.

More from both locker rooms in a bit.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Friday, 08.10.2012 / 5:40 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Sweden leads Finland 5-1 after two periods

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Sweden extended its lead over Finland in the second period, scoring three times to take a 5-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Victor Rask started the scoring when he finished off a nice cycle play with linemates Jeremy Boyce Rotevall and Viktor Arvidsson nine minutes into the period.

Oscar Klefbom rocketed a shot from just above the right circle during a two-man advantage to make it 4-0 at 11:23.

Finland finally got on the board when Robert Leino got in front of the net and tipped a Rasmus Ristolainen shot for a power-play goal at 15:24, but the momentum lasted just 30 seconds, as William Karlsson scored at 15:54 to make it 5-1.

Back with more after the final whistle.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Friday, 08.10.2012 / 4:36 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Sweden leads Finland 2-0 after first period

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Goals by Jakob Lilja and Rasmus Bengtsson have given Sweden a 2-0 lead after one period here at Herb Brooks Arena.

Lilja got the scoring going when he banged in the rebound of a shot by Jeremy Boyce Rotevall 4:36 into the game.

Later in the period, with Sweden on its first power play of the game, Bengtsson's shot from the blue line went through traffic deflected straight down off the crossbar and over the goal line at 16:15.

Finland had chances to get on the board, but it's anemic power play continues to hurt it. They went 0-for-2 in the period, and now are 0-for-13 in their week in Lake Placid.

Back with more after the second period.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Friday, 08.10.2012 / 3:50 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Lineups for Sweden, Finland

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Here are the lineups Sweden and Finland will use for Friday's game.

Sweden will be without two regulars. They'll go without a backup goalie as Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Oscar Dansk is out with an injury to his right knee. Niklas Lundstrom, who allowed all 10 goals against the U.S. Thursday, again will be in net.

Top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Alexander Wennberg, who dressed as the backup Thursday against the U.S., will return to his normal position, centering a line with Pontus Aberg and Mika Zibanejad.

It's unknown what Sweden will do if something were to happen to Lundstrom.

Also sitting out for Sweden is forward Mikael Wikstrand, an Ottawa Senators prospect. It's unclear why he won't be playing, but Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg had said after the team's morning skate Thursday that he had some "question marks" for today's lineup.

The most interesting line for Finland could see Chicago Blackhawks' 2012 first-round pick Teuvo Teravainen centering Joel Armia and Toni Kallela. Armia, the Buffalo Sabres' 2011 top pick, has looked especially strong in camp.

Also, this marks the first time Finland coach Harri Lindell has split up his top defense pairing of Olli Maatta and Rasmus Ristolainen. Maatta will skate with Dallas Stars prospect Esa Lindell, while Ristolainen, a top prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft, will skate with Aleksi Salonen.

SWEDEN

Max Gortz - William Karlsson - Filip Forsberg

Jeremy Boyce Rotevall - Victor Rask - Viktor Arvidsson

Pontus Aberg - Alexander Wennberg - Mika Zibanejad

Jakob Lilja - Joachim Nermark - Linus Froberg

Emil Lundberg - Oskar Sundqvist

Jonatan Nielsen - Oscar Klefbom

Hampus Lindholm - Rasmus Bengtsson

Linus Arnesson - Tom Nilsson

Niklas Lundstrom

FINLAND

Toni Kallela - Teuvo Teravainen - Joel Armia

Miro Aaltonen - Alexander Barkov - Juuso Ikonen

Artturi Lehkonen - Robert Leino - Markus Hannikainen

Heikki Liedes - Nico Nyberg - Matti Lamberg

Olli Maatta - Esa Lindell

Rasmus Ristolainen - Aleksi Salonen

Joonas Valkonen - Niklas Tikkinen

Mikko Lehtonen - Ville Pokka

Richard Ullberg

Janne Juvonen

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Friday, 08.10.2012 / 3:14 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

U.S. players feel the history in Lake Placid

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- It doesn't take long upon arriving in Lake Placid to see all the reminders of the 1980 Winter Olympics. That includes the Olympic Center and the ice sheet in what now is known as Herb Brooks Arena, which hosted the most memorable moment in North American sports history, the "Miracle on Ice" game.

"Everybody knows where you were in 1980," U.S. coach Phil Housley, who was 15 when the United States memorably beat Russia, told NHL.com. "I skipped school that day to watch that game."

The aura that hovers around that ice sheet is easy to feel for Housley as well as the players taking part in this week's USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp.

It's the first time since 2007 the camp has been held on the Olympic-size ice sheet in Herb Brooks Arena, because the tournament has been in North America the past five years. The players here this week all were born nearly 15 years after the Miracle happened, but they all know the stories.

"Every day your first steps out on the ice you think about it," defenseman Andy Welinski, an Anaheim Ducks prospect, told NHL.com. "It's something people are never going to forget. It's always in the back of your head when you step out on the rink."

Forward Steven Fogarty, a New York Rangers prospect, said he certainly appreciates his surroundings.

"When you see these signs about this is where it happened, it's really special," he told NHL.com. "To think that something so great in history happened in the same building we're skating in is so cool. … It's really special to be thinking I was skating on the same ice as those guys."

Goaltender Jon Gillies, who grew up about four hours southeast in Concord, N.H., played in a tournament in Lake Placid as a youngster, but still appreciates every chance he has to stand in the same crease legends Jim Craig and Vladislav Tretiak stood in.

"It's kind of surreal you get to experience this," he told NHL.com. "I played on this ice when I was younger and that's a memory I treasure."

Playing on a legendary surface certainly has provided an extra boost of motivation for most players.

Phoenix Coyotes prospect Connor Murphy said, "It still has that kind of feel that you go out there and you have that extra jump in your step because you know you're playing on that ice."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Friday, 08.10.2012 / 2:53 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Goalies getting extra work at development camp

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- John Gibson has started the past two games in net for the United States with Garret Sparks serving as his backup. That's left Jon Gillies and Anthony Stolarz to spend extra time with goalie coach Joe Exter.

For Stolarz, the Philadelphia Flyers' 2012 second-round pick, that could be the best thing that's happened to him.

The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder had a 2.84 goals-against average and .920 save percentage with Corpus Christi of the North American Hockey League last season, numbers that become even more impressive when you consider Stolarz said working with Exter is the first time he's had a real goaltending coach.

"I never really had a goalie coach," Stolarz told NHL.com. "Throughout the week, coach Exter has been working with me. I've learned more this week than the entire year I was in Corpus. He's been a very big help to me."

Exter said the raw talent Stolarz possesses is obvious.

"Anthony is coming along and learning how to use all this strengths and turn that into being a solid goaltender," Exter told NHL.com.

Gillies, a 2012 third-round pick of the Calgary Flames, came to camp a more polished prospect after spending the past two seasons with the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League.

"I think Jon is very well-grounded fundamentally as a goaltender," Exter said.

The pair has worked together in the past, and Gillies said this camp has about continuing to refine his technique.

Next is getting into a game, which could happen Saturday against Finland. Coach Phil Housley wouldn't comment on a starter, but with Saturday's game being the final one of the camp, the two goalies and forward Jimmy Vesey are the only players not to get into the past two games.

"We want to try to get everybody some work," Housley told NHL.com. "That's the main part about being here."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Friday, 08.10.2012 / 2:45 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Vesey ready to show his skills

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- One day after his team's 10-2 rout of Sweden, U.S. coach Phil Housley had a small group of players on the ice for a short practice Friday.

With a lot of ice time during the National Junior Evaluation Camp, Housley said being able to keep most of the team off the ice, giving them a full day of freedom from workouts or video, was the best plan.

"We were trying to look through our schedule and since we didn't have a lot of practice time after the first three games when we had everybody out there, certainly the way they played [Thursday], they got rewarded with a day off," Housley told NHL.com.

The team will reconvene Saturday for the final day of the camp, capped by a game against Finland. Housley said he and his staff still are undecided on the look of the lineup, but said there are a few players he would like to see more of in game situations. Among them are forward Jimmy Vesey and goalies Anthony Stolarz and Jon Gillies. They're the only three players to not get into one of the past two single-squad games, against Sweden and Finland.

Vesey, a left wing taken by the Nashville Predators in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft, will play against Finland. He had 48 goals and 91 points in 45 games for the South Shore Kings of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, but the Boston native knows playing in this week's camp is a major step up in competition.

"It's been a good experience playing against such high-end guys," he told NHL.com. "I'm coming out of a low level competing in the [EJHL]. Just to see how they [other players] prepare and how fast and strong they are out there, I think it's going to give me confidence going forward."

Housley said he's liked what he's seen from Vesey so far in practice, but is hoping there's even more when the game starts.

"I think he's got to carry his game to another level and we've talked about that," Housley said. "Certainly he's very gifted offensively. Hopefully he can bring that to the table [Saturday]. He'll get a nice opportunity to play against Finland."

Vesey said his goal entering camp was to make an impression on the USA Hockey management staff, and plans to continue doing that Saturday.

"I'm just trying to work as hard as I can in practice and show the coaches I can contribute once I get in the lineup," he said. "They expect me, if I'm going to be on the team, to contribute offense, so I'm just going to show that I have a good presence in the offensive zone and I can bury the puck."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Friday, 08.10.2012 / 11:12 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Thursday loss 'teaching moment' for Sweden coach

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg said Thursday's 10-2 loss to the United States was a perfect teaching moment for his team.

After what Ronnberg viewed as a solid first period, the game turned when Vincent Trocheck scored 1:31 into the second to make it 3-1. Just 21 seconds later, Alex Galchenyuk scored to make it 4-1. The U.S. team scored six times in the second, and added two goals in the third.

"We have to look at it, we have to see what happened, [and] we have to deal with it," Ronnberg told NHL.com after his team's morning skate Friday. "It happened, and on one hand we played against a really good team, but we were playing with this frustration for two periods, the second and third. We have to deal with that. We have to rely on our system even if they are leading 3-1. We have to still be consistent in our system and continue to play after our system. We didn't [Thursday], and it's a good example for us of what happens if we go away from the system. If we stick to the system, we would be harder to play against for the U.S."

Ronnberg said the loss Thursday was something his team earned. He said he hasn't been particularly happy with the way his team has played despite a 5-1 win against a U.S. split squad Monday and an 8-2 rout of Finland on Tuesday.

"It was the perfect teaching moment and something to learn from," Ronnberg said. "The worst thing as a coach is if you come away easy. Two games here, against U.S. and Finns, we have come away easy because we haven't played that good and still had easy wins on the scoreboard. I don't think the scoreboard has reflected our games. It's hard to convince the players the game isn't good enough when you win 9-2."

Ronnberg said what he's looking for from his team Friday against Finland is discipline.

"It's discipline to staying to the game plan," he said. "Discipline staying out of the [penalty] box. Those are two things that are real important."

Ronnberg said goaltender Oscar Dansk, who injured his right knee Tuesday against Finland, is questionable for Friday's game. He sat out Thursday, with top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Alexander Wennberg, a center by trade, dressing in Dansk's gear as the backup goalie.

"He has been in the net for fun a couple times and he thought it was a good thing for him," Ronnberg said. "We thought, 'Why not?'"

Despite the lopsided score, Ronnberg said he never thought about bringing Wennberg into the game.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Friday, 08.10.2012 / 10:18 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Finland back on the ice

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- After a much-needed day of rest, Finland coach Harri Lindell had his team on the ice for a short spin Friday morning, ahead of an afternoon game against Sweden.

Finland had played three games over the previous three days, losing to a split-squad U.S. team Monday, to Sweden on Tuesday and to the full-squad U.S. team Wednesday.

"We really needed that [day off] because it was a tough start to the season," Lindell told NHL.com. "Now that we have relaxed, now it's important today to have the right mental toughness again because playing three games in a row, then having a day of rest, then all of a sudden you need to battle again -- battle really hard. That's why we had a half an hour on the ice this morning, and having some one-on-ones, two-on-twos, to make sure that we are ready."

In Tuesday's 8-2 loss to Sweden, Finland played well at the start and had a 2-1 lead in the first minute of the second period. Things fell apart from there, however.

Lindell said one of the places he's looking to improve is puck control, especially in the neutral zone. And getting a power-play goal wouldn't hurt, either -- Finland is 0-for-11 in three games, and didn't have a power-play chance against Sweden.

"We need to play better on the power play, but we haven't had that many power-play chances," Lindell said. "And we really need to improve the game in the [neutral] zone. We have lost too many pucks there. Our puck control hasn't been that good. We have to focus on that."

Lindell said Richard Ullberg will start in goal Thursday. He allowed five goals on 24 shots in Monday's 5-1 loss to USA Blue. Lindell said Ullberg likely will be his top goalie for the 2013 World Junior Championship, and wants to see how he performs against Sweden, last year's tournament champion.

"We are thinking about him for the World Junior Championship," Lindell said. "These are tough games. … He didn't play against Sweden before so we need to see him."

Lindell also said Miikka Salomaki, a Nashville Predators prospect, will miss his third straight game with an upper-body injury. Salomaki skated Friday morning with the team, but Lindell said it wasn't worth risking further injury by playing him now. Lindell said there's a chance Salomaki could play Saturday against the United States.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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