Ryan Fitzgerald opened eyes when he had three assists at the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo in September. The 2013 NHL Draft prospect did it again Monday playing for the U.S. at the World Junior A Challenge.
Fitzgerald, who plays for Valley Warriors of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, had a hat trick to lead the U.S. to a 9-1 opening-game rout of Canada East.
The tournament, being played in Yarmouth, N.S., runs through Nov. 12.
A C-rated skater in NHL Central Skating's preliminary rankings of players to watch for this year's draft, Fitzgerald scored Team USA's first two goals, then closed the first by completing his hat trick with a power-play goal with 30 seconds left in the period.
Taylor Cammarata made it 4-0 with a power-play goal at 6:13 of the second, and after a shorthanded goal later in the second, defenseman Dan Molenaar made it 7-0 with a goal seven seconds into the third.
Eamon McAdam stopped 26 of 27 shots, including 15 of 16 in the third, for the win. McAdam, who plays for the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League, earned a B rating from Central Scouting, as well as the accolades of his coach.
"In the first period, goaltender Eamon McAdam made a number of big saves and helped us kill five penalties; without that it's a totally different game," U.S. coach Brett Larson said. "It started with solid goaltending and defense. Then we played the right way by using our speed on offense and we got rewarded for that."
Shane Conacher scored the lone goal for Canada East.
The U.S. next plays Tuesday, against Switzerland, while Canada East is off until Wednesday, when they'll face Switzerland.
In the only other game Monday, 2013 draft prospects Artem Prokhorov and Sergei Ilin each scored a pair of goals to lead Russia to a 6-1 win against the Czech Republic.
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