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Niederreiter hopes to build on World Championship

Monday, 05.20.2013 / 7:42 PM / News

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Niederreiter hopes to build on World Championship
Nino Niederreiter didn't get a chance to play for the Isles this season, but still put on a show on an international stage at the World Championships.

If Nino Niederreiter wasn't happy about not getting a chance to play with the New York Islanders this season, he certainly didn't let his disappointment show in his play at the World Hockey Championship.

Niederreiter, the fifth player chosen in the 2010 NHL Draft, played the entire 2012-13 season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders' affiliate in the American Hockey League, after spending all of last season in a fourth-line role with the Islanders. He didn't get an invitation to New York's training camp in January, and the Islanders opted to let him play for Switzerland at the World Championships rather than make him a playoff call-up who had little chance of seeing action against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The decision worked out well for everyone -- Niederreiter had five goals and eight points in 10 games as Switzerland advanced to the championship game. A 5-1 loss to Sweden on Sunday left the Swiss with the silver -- their first medal at the Worlds in 60 years.

"The tournament was phenomenal," Niederreiter told the Islanders' website. "We made it all the way to the finals, which was obviously a huge step for the country and for us as a team. We played great from the beginning of the tournament all the way to the end."

Niederreiter scored a key goal in a preliminary-round victory against Canada and had the game-winner in Saturday's 3-0 victory against the United States in the semifinals.

"The Americans came out very strong after beating Russia 8-3 the game before, so we knew it was going to be a tough game against them," Niederreiter told the website. "We just knew we had to leave everything out there on the ice and see what would happen after 60 minutes. The result was that we won 3-0. That was one of the best games we played in the tournament."

The Swiss came up short in their first trip to the championship game since 1935, but the full season at Bridgeport -- in which he scored a team-high 28 goals -- and his performance at the World Championship have left him optimistic about returning to the Islanders in the fall.

"Overall I'm definitely a better player now than I was a year ago," said Niederreiter, who won't turn 21 until Sept. 8. "I played a lot of minutes in Bridgeport this year and had the chance to gain a lot of confidence. And I gained even more at the World Championships.

"I will do everything I can over the summer to be in the best shape and the best player I can be in Islanders training camp."

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