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Posted On Saturday, 08.08.2015 / 6:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

Matthews, U.S. end camp with win against Finland

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Center Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists to help the United States close out its National Junior Evaluation Camp with a 6-1 exhibition victory against Finland at Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena on Saturday.

Matthews, who is widely considered the frontrunner to be the top pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead 53 seconds into the game when he beat Finnish prospect Jesse Puljujarvi in the neutral zone before curling two defenders at the right hash and scoring off his backhand.

"That was fantastic and beautiful," U.S. coach Ron Wilson said. "He beat a couple of guys and held on and flipped it high over goalie's glove. It was a perfect start to the game.

"I thought [goaltender] Brandon Halverson kept is simple too. I'm not a big believer in over-handling the puck, and he had a few issues with that, but not too many and generally he did a good job."

Posted On Friday, 08.07.2015 / 8:48 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

Sweden blanks Finland to end U.S. camp on high note

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Rikard Gronborg, head coach of the Sweden National Junior Team, certainly liked what he saw from his players this week during United States National Junior Evaluation Camp at Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena.

Sweden won three of four exhibition games, including the last two against the United States on Thursday and Finland on Friday. Goaltender Erik Kallgren, a seventh-round pick (No. 183) of the Arizona Coyotes at the 2015 NHL Draft, made 26 saves to earn a 2-0 victory against Finland. It marked the first complete-game shutout by any goalie at the camp.

"It was a nice effort from the team and it felt great for me," Kallgren (5-foot-11, 160 pounds) said. "I think we played really good as a team. The guys blocked shots and helped me back there."

Posted On Thursday, 08.06.2015 / 8:20 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

Flyers prospect Sandstrom helps Sweden top U.S.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Goaltender Felix Sandstrom, a third-round pick (No. 70) of the Philadelphia Flyers at the 2015 NHL Draft, rebounded nicely Thursday from a disastrous start three days earlier at United States National Junior Evaluation Camp.

Sandstrom made 25 saves on 27 shots to lead Sweden to a 5-2 exhibition victory against the U.S. at Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena.

The victory comes after Sandstrom (6-foot-2, 192 pounds) allowed 10 goals in a 10-4 loss against the U.S. white squad Monday. It was a win Sandstrom desperately needed, particularly with goalie Erik Kallgren likely to start against Finland on Friday in Sweden's final game of the camp.

Posted On Wednesday, 08.05.2015 / 9:04 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

Werenski scores OT winner for U.S. against Finland

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Defenseman Zachary Werenski, the No. 8 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets, was only following orders, but it paid off in a big way at United States National Junior Evaluation Camp on Wednesday.

Werenski scored the game-winning goal with 37 seconds remaining in overtime to give the United States a 5-4 victory against Finland in an exhibition game at Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena.

"Our coach talked about being a late guy into the play while 4-on-4, and that's what I did," Werenski said. "I had an opportunity to join and I did, and Brock [Boeser] made a great play off the wall, slid it into me, and I knew I had to get a shot off in overtime because there wasn't much time left. I hit the net, and fortunately it went in.

"That's the main focus at this camp, winning. It's exciting because even though it's not the real tournament, we're wearing the USA sweater and you can make a statement."

Posted On Wednesday, 08.05.2015 / 8:40 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

Top prospect Matthews to decide on '15-16 team soon

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Center Auston Matthews, who many project will be the top pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, said Wednesday he likely will make his decision on where he will play this season after United States National Junior Evaluation Camp.

The camp, which will help determine the U.S. roster for the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, runs through Saturday at Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena.

Matthews (6-foot-2, 194 pounds), who represented his country at the 2015 WJC in Montreal and Toronto, spoke Wednesday after the U.S. won an exhibition game against Finland 5-4 in overtime.

"There's no (updated) news and I'm really just focused on this camp and wanting to continue to make an impression on the USA coaching staff," Matthews said. "A decision should be made shortly after this camp."

Posted On Wednesday, 08.05.2015 / 3:00 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

U.S. golden in previous World Juniors trip to Finland

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The United States won gold at the 2004 IIHF World Junior Championship, the last time Finland hosted the tournament.

The core of that team was Patrick O'Sullivan, Zach Parise, Patrick Eaves, Matt Carle, Ryan Kesler and captain Mark Stuart. The U.S. had won gold two years earlier at the World Under-18 Championship in Slovakia, and it was favored to have similar success against the top junior-aged players in the world.

In the championship game against Canada, a team comprised of Ryan Getzlaf, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury and Dion Phaneuf, the United States won 4-3 to capture its first gold medal at the tournament.

Posted On Tuesday, 08.04.2015 / 12:24 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

Tuch to miss remainder of WJC camp with knee injury

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Minnesota Wild prospect Alex Tuch, who sustained a knee injury in the first period of an exhibition game at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp, will not play in any of the United States' three remaining games.

Tuch was injured in the first period of a 10-3 loss to Finland on Monday at Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena. He will remain with the U.S. for the duration of the camp that concludes Saturday.

Tuch, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-handed shot, had 14 goals and 28 points in 37 games for Boston College in Hockey East last season. He was selected No. 18 by the Wild in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Posted On Tuesday, 08.04.2015 / 8:02 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

USA Hockey releases six players from WJC camp

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Forwards Ryan MacInnis, Jordan Greenway, Conor Garland and Christian Fischer and defensemen Jack Dougherty and Joshua Jacobs were released from USA Hockey's National Junior Evaluation Camp roster on Tuesday.

Defenseman Johnathon Macleod was also returned home for precautionary reasons, leaving 18 forwards, 11 defensemen and four goalies at the camp to help determine the final roster for the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Finland.

Posted On Monday, 08.03.2015 / 10:26 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

Wild prospect Tuch injured in exhibition game

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Forward Alex Tuch, chosen No. 18 by the Minnesota Wild in the 2014 NHL Draft, sustained a knee injury during an exhibition game and will be re-evaluated Tuesday to determine if he can continue his participation in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp this week.

Tuch was injured in the first period of a 10-3 loss to Finland on Monday at Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena.

Posted On Monday, 08.03.2015 / 10:12 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

U.S. forward Tkachuk conjures memories of dad

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Left wing Matthew Tkachuk is a regular chip off the old block.

Tkachuk, son of former NHL player Keith Tkachuk and a potential top-five pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, had three goals and two assists for the United States white team in a 10-4 exhibition win against Sweden on Monday during USA Hockey's national junior evaluation camp at Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena.

The camp will help determine the roster for the United States at the 2016 World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland, to be played from Dec. 26, 2015, through Jan. 5, 2016. Matthew Tkachuk will play for London in the Ontario Hockey League this season.

"Tkachuk was our best player; he looked like his old man out there, who I coached previously," U.S. coach Ron Wilson said. "He did his dad proud. He looks like he's going to get to stay with us. He was one of the borderline calls [as one of the younger players] but he made up for it and we have no problem keeping him around."

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