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Posted On Sunday, 12.23.2012 / 2:55 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

USA Hockey cuts two players from WJC roster

Slowly but surely, the U.S. National Junior Team that will participate in the 2013 World Junior Championship is taking shape.

On Sunday morning in Helsinki, Finland, U.S. general manager Jim Johannson and his staff announced the release of two players, including defenseman Brady Skjei of the University of Minnesota and forward Stefan Matteau of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Johannson will need to cut one more defenseman to get his roster to the required 23-man unit. According to reports, the U.S. managerial team is awaiting medical reports on an undisclosed player before making a final decision, which should be made Sunday.

The roster currently includes 13 forwards, eight defensemen and three goalies, including one emergency backup in case of injury.

"We are very close to finalizing our group of defensemen, pending the resolution of a medical situation," Johannson said in a statement. "We are set with our 13 forwards and three goaltenders. The decisions we made [Sunday] were very difficult and are a testament to the talent available to us in the United States."

Posted On Saturday, 12.22.2012 / 12:50 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada tops Sweden in shootout

Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the shootout as Canada beat Sweden 2-1 in its final tune-up prior to the start of the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

It was far from an artistic beauty -- Canada trailed early and gave Sweden eight power plays -- but their surplus of talent provided the difference.

Top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Elias Lindholm set up fellow draft candidate Alexander Wennberg, who opened the scoring for Sweden with a power-play goal at 9:39 of the first period.

Sweden had multiple chances to increase its lead as Canada made repeated trips to the penalty box, including nearly seven straight minutes shorthanded midway through the period as Dougie Hamilton was sent off for roughing at 5:10, Huberdeau was whistled for slashing at 7:18, and Boone Jenner was given a major and gross misconduct for charging at 12:13. The IIHF will review the penalty and could assess supplemental discipline on Jenner.

Posted On Saturday, 12.22.2012 / 11:51 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

USA Hockey to now announce cuts on Sunday

It appears as though the managerial staff for the U.S. National Junior Team has some more thinking to do in the wake of the team's 5-1 loss to Finland in the final pre-competition tournament game in Helsinki on Saturday.

USA Hockey had planned on releasing three players to pare its roster for the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia, to the required 23-man unit following the exhibition against Finland. It apparently needs more time.

According to USA Hockey, the final three cuts will now be announced on Sunday, at approximately 3 a.m. ET/10 a.m. Helsinki. During a 5-1 loss to Finland on Saturday, U.S. coach Phil Housley listed defensemen Brady Skjei and Patrick Sieloff, forward Jim Vesey and goalie Garret Sparks as healthy scratches.

Posted On Saturday, 12.22.2012 / 8:34 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Barkov stars as Finland tops United States

Alexander Barkov showed why he's considered one of the top players available for the 2013 NHL Draft, scoring a goal and adding two assists in the third period as Finland topped the United States 5-1 on Saturday in the final exhibition game for both teams heading into the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Finland scored three power-play goals in the third period to blow open what had been a one-goal game for the first two periods.

Alexander Barkov

Blake Pietila scored the lone goal for the United States. Goalie John Gibson, the likely starter when the U.S. team opens the WJC on Dec. 27 against Germany, made 25 saves.

The United States arrived in Finland for its two exhibition games with 26 players, and will make final cuts Sunday to get down to the final 23-player roster.

Finland led 1-0 after two periods on Robert Leino's goal at 15:47 of the first, but didn't need much time in the third to increase their advantage.

With two seconds left on a Seth Jones penalty assessed in the final minute of the second, Finland got a power-play goal from Markus Granlund 1:06 into the third. Just 1:13 later Barkov made it 3-0 when he scored from right in front of the U.S. goal.

Posted On Friday, 12.21.2012 / 10:10 PM

By Staff -  / - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Top goalies star in pair of QMJHL victories

The top two goalies from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft, as ranked by NHL Central Scouting, starred in victories on Friday.

Zachary Fucale of Halifax, ranked No. 1 in Central Scouting's preliminary league rankings, made 22 saves in a 5-1 win over Saint John.

Fucale is 22-3-1 this season.

Halifax played without the No. 1 and 2 ranked skaters, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin. The forwards are preparing to compete for Canada in next week's World Junior Championship.

No. 2 ranked goalie Philippe Desrosiers made 43 saves for Rimouski in a 4-3 win over Quebec.

Rimouski was outshot 33-10 and trailing 2-1 after two periods. Desrosiers is 14-7-4.

Posted On Friday, 12.21.2012 / 11:47 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

McNeill added to Canadian roster for WJC; Hudon out

Hockey Canada announced on Friday that forward Mark McNeill of the Prince Albert Raiders in the Western Hockey League will join the Canadian National Junior Team in Finland on Saturday as an injury replacement.

McNeill will replace Charles Hudon of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Chicoutimi Saguenéens. Hudon, who reportedly is suffering from a back injury, will return to Canada on Sunday.

McNeill was one of the eight final players cut from Canada's selection camp in Calgary earlier this month. The Edmonton native has represented Canada at the 2011 Under-18 World Championship in Germany and also played for Team Pacific at the 2010 U-17 World Hockey Challenge in Timmins, Ontario. McNeill was selected in the first round (No. 18) by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2011 NHL Draft.

Posted On Thursday, 12.20.2012 / 3:21 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

U.S. beats Sweden in overtime in exhibition game

The U.S. national junior team started its European excursion on a positive note.

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere scored at 1:38 of overtime to give the United States a 3-2 victory in its exhibition game against Sweden.

Connor Murphy and Ryan Hartman also scored for the United States as it prepares to improve on last year's seventh-place finish when it arrives in Ufa, Russia for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. The U.S. team opens tournament play Dec. 27 against Germany.

Emil Molin and Rickard Rakell scored for Sweden.

Posted On Thursday, 12.20.2012 / 2:06 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

U.S, Sweden tied 2-2 after two periods

The U.S. and Sweden each had a goal in the second period of their exhibition game, and after 40 minutes the game is tied 2-2.

Ryan Hartman, a top prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft, had the U.S. goal. Mario Lucia stole the puck behind the Sweden net and flipped a nice backhand pass through the slot to Hartman, who one-timed the puck past goalie Niklas Lundstrom 3:48 into the period.

The U.S. lead held up until the final seconds of the period. With Connor Murphy off for high-sticking, Sweden worked the puck in the U.S. end on the power play. Rickard Rakell took a pass and skated into the right faceoff circle. His shot from the dot beat U.S. goalie Jon Gillies under his blocker with 34 seconds left in the period to tie the game 2-2.

Posted On Thursday, 12.20.2012 / 1:23 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

U.S, Sweden tied after one period

After 20 minutes of action, the U.S. and Sweden are tied 1-1 in their exhibition game.

Sweden struck first when Emil Molin took a pass from Linus Froberg and fired a shot from the edge of the left faceoff circle that went between the arm and body of U.S. goalie Garret Sparks just 2:35 into the game.

Moments later, the U.S. took advantage of its first power play when Connor Murphy scored at 4:51. Murphy faked a shot from the top of the circle, skated into the high slot and fired a shot over the glove of Sweden goalie Niklas Lundstrom to tie the game.

Each team had chances to break the tie, including a 63-second two-man advantage for Sweden late in the first. However, the U.S. killed it off and even generated two quality shorthanded scoring chances.

Posted On Thursday, 12.20.2012 / 12:29 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada falls to Finland in WJC exhibition game

Griffin Reinhart and Mark Scheifele scored 36 seconds apart in the second period, but Canada was unable to protect its lead and lost to Finland 3-2 in its first pre-WJC exhibition game, played in Vantaa, Finland.

Canada trailed 1-0 after one period, but Reinhart scored 3:05 into the second period to tie the score, then Scheifele gave Canada a 2-1 lead at 3:41.

But with Scheifele in the penalty box for tripping, Ville Jarvelainen scored a power-play goal at 10:02 of the second to even the game.

In the third, Miro Aaltonen scored to put Finland ahead for good at 7:16.

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