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Posted On Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 10:01 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Orr, Cherry to coach at CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Hockey Hall of Fame member Bobby Orr and longtime NHL broadcaster Don Cherry will return as coaches for the 2015 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 22, 2015 in St. Catharines, Ontario.

The 20th edition of the game, which will feature 40 of the top prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft playing in the Canadian Hockey League, will be played at the Meridian Centre, the new home of the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League.

"When this event began in 1996 it was the support of Don Cherry and Bobby Orr that helped build this showcase of top draft-eligible CHL players into a prestigious annual event," CHL president David Branch said. "The CHL is honored that Don and Bobby will participate behind the bench in the 2015 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in what will truly be a special experience for the 40 players competing on the ice, and for hockey fans in St. Catharines and across the CHL."

Posted On Friday, 08.15.2014 / 3:39 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Canada, Czech Republic to play for Hlinka title

Top 2015 NHL Draft prospect Dylan Strome had a hat trick as Canada beat the United States 11-5 on Friday in the semifinals of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in a game played at Zimny Stadion in Piestany, Slovakia.

Canada will play the Czech Republic in the championship game Saturday. Canada has won the tournament in each of the past six years and 18 of the 23 times it's been held since 1991.

"We've got to go out and play our game," coach Jody Hull told Canadian Press. "If we can go out and play our game for 60 minutes, that's going to be the key. You've got to be ready for anything. So we're just going to enjoy this [Friday] and be focused and ready to go [Saturday]."

Travis Konecny had two goals for Canada and Mitchell Stephens and Jansen Harkins had one goal and two assists each. Goaltender Zachary Sawchenko allowed five goals on 29 shots.

Thomas Novak had two goals and an assist for the United States. Evan Sarthou started the game in goal but allowed five goals in 29:58 of action. His backup, Matthew Jurusik, allowed the final six goals. The U.S. was outshot 48-29 for the game.

Posted On Wednesday, 08.13.2014 / 11:53 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - World Junior evaluation camps

McLennan impressed with crop of U.S. goaltenders

NHL Network analyst Jamie McLennan spent parts of 11 seasons playing goalie in the NHL with five teams from 1993 to 2007. And at 6-foot and 207 pounds, he said he considered himself "a big guy."

But while watching the goaltenders USA Hockey invited to Lake Placid, N.Y., last week for a summer evaluation camp geared toward picking the players that will play for the United States at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, he didn't feel so big.

"Being a 6-foot goaltender I thought I was a big guy," McLennan said. "Today I'd be a shrimp. Everyone is 6-2 and up and that's what teams draft."

All four goaltenders at the camp each stood 6-foot-3 or taller, but it was Thatcher Demko, the biggest of the four at 6-4 and 192 pounds, who stood out the most to McLennan.

Posted On Saturday, 08.09.2014 / 12:48 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - World Junior evaluation camps

U.S.-Czech WJC camp game delayed

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Citing travel problems for the Czech Republic team, a game between the United States and the Czechs scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday has been rescheduled for 5:30 p.m.

The Czechs had been in Montreal taking part in the junior evaluation camp hosted by Hockey Canada. They beat Canada 5-2 on Thursday, with Boston Bruins 2014 first-round pick David Pastrnak scoring two goals and adding an assist. The game also featured 101 penalty minutes, including 79 for Canada.

The game Saturday between the Americans and Czechs will close a week-long junior evaluation camp run by USA Hockey here that included games and practices for the United States, Sweden and Finland.

The United States has been off since Thursday, when it beat Finland 9-1. The Americans also played Wednesday, beating Sweden 7-1.

Posted On Friday, 08.08.2014 / 7:59 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - World Junior evaluation camps

Saros' goaltending leads Finland past Sweden

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Even while coaching in Russia for the past three seasons, Finland national junior coach Hannu Jortikka knew exactly what kind of player he has in goaltender Juuse Saros.

Saros, a Nashville Predators prospect who helped backstop Finland to the gold medal at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, was outstanding in stopping 24 of 26 shots in Finland's 4-2 defeat of Sweden on Friday.

Janne Puhakka had a goal and an assist and Julius Vahatalo, Sami Niku and Aleski Mustonen had goals, but it was Saros who kept things under control in the Finnish end.

Posted On Friday, 08.08.2014 / 3:38 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - World Junior evaluation camps

Projected lineups for Finland, Sweden

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- One day after losing 9-1 to the United States, Finland will look for a better effort Friday against Sweden.

That includes a change in goal, with Nashville Predators prospect Juuse Saros starting. Kevin Lankinen, a 2015 NHL Draft prospect, allowed nine goals on 42 shots Thursday.

Sweden, which hasn't played since losing to the United States 7-1 on Wednesday, will have a few changes to its lineup. Axel Blomqvist (Winnipeg Jets) will play right wing on the top line, alongside left wing Jacob de la Rose (Montreal Canadiens) and center Lucas Wallmark (Carolina Hurricanes).

Fredrik Bergvik (San Jose Sharks) will start in goal. He allowed one goal on four shots in 16:59 of ice time in relief of Jonas Johansson (Buffalo Sabres) on Wednesday.

Posted On Friday, 08.08.2014 / 1:05 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - World Junior evaluation camps

Sabres prospect Fasching 'MVP' of soccer tournament

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Hudson Fasching has accomplished a lot in his athletic career. But Friday might have been the high point.

Fasching, a Buffalo Sabres prospect, was the self-proclaimed MVP of the winning soccer team during a fun morning away from the rink for the players competing at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp.

After beating Sweden and Finland by a combined score of 16-2 the previous two days, the players had earned a break from practice but still wanted to get some kind of a workout in. So after stretching for a bit at the Olympic Training Center, they went next door for a four-team soccer tournament on the field in front of Lake Placid High School.

Posted On Thursday, 08.07.2014 / 8:22 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - World Junior evaluation camps

Eichel is more than meeting expectations

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Before he arrived at the National Junior Evaluation Camp this week, United States national junior team coach Mark Osiecki said there would be high expectations placed on center Jack Eichel.

"Jack Eichel is an offensive player and we have to hold him accountable offensively," Osiecki said. "He's a special player and we have to lean on him offensively to be that difference maker, be a player that can make everyone around him better; offensively for sure."

Eichel has done just that in the past two days. He had one goal and four assists in a 9-1 win against Finland on Thursday, one day after he had three assists in a 7-1 defeat of Sweden. In the game against Sweden he helped linemate Alex Tuch to a hat trick. He did the same for his other linemate, Tyler Motte, against Finland.

Posted On Thursday, 08.07.2014 / 8:11 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - World Junior evaluation camps

Halverson's fall lightens mood

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Brandon Halverson had a memorable game in goal for the United States in a 9-1 win against Finland on Thursday.

The New York Rangers prospect stopped 16 of 17 shots, including a few fine chances by the Finns, and he had an assist on John Hayden's third-period power-play goal.

However, it's what happened after the goal that will last in the memory of those who filled the USA Rink at the Olympic Training Center.
Posted On Thursday, 08.07.2014 / 8:02 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - World Junior evaluation camps

Eichel's five points powers U.S. to rout of Finland

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- United States national junior team coach Mark Osiecki has talked about not wanting to install too much in the way of systems for his players during the National Junior Evaluation Camp.

But what he's put in so far the players certainly have embraced.

The top line of Jack Eichel, Alex Tuch and Tyler Motte combined for five goals and 12 points, and the U.S. rolled to a 9-1 win against Finland on Thursday. The win came one day after a 7-1 rout of Sweden.

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