MINNEAPOLIS -- For those players on the bubble with visions of earning a roster spot on the United States National Junior Team that will travel to Sweden for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, the first major test is Tuesday in an exhibition game against Minnesota State University at Verizon Wireless Arena in Mankato (8:37 p.m. ET).
U.S. coach Don Lucia will lead his charges against the Mavericks before making three cuts to pare his roster to 26 players, including 15 forwards, eight defensemen and three goalies. The coach will conduct one more practice at Mariucci Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota on Wednesday morning before he and his team depart for Angelholm, Sweden, to continue the evaluation Thursday.
The United States will have exhibition games against Sweden on Dec. 20 and Finland on Dec. 22 before announcing the official 23-player roster headed to Malmo for the WJC that begins Dec. 26.
"We have to make some cuts before we head to Sweden [on Wednesday afternoon] to continue camp," Lucia said. "Against Minnesota State, we have to start forging that identity of our team."