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B's Prospects Bychkov, Mantykivi Named to WJC Rosters

Beecher left off of U.S. squad ahead of upcoming IIHF tournament

by Eric Russo @erusso22 / BostonBruins.com

BostonBruins.com - The Bruins will be represented by two prospects at the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship, as defenseman Roman Bychkov (Russia) and forward Matias Mantykivi (Finland) were named to their respective rosters on Saturday morning, marking the first WJC appearances for both players.

Bychkov, 19, was selected by the Bruins in the fifth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The 5-foot-11, 183-pound blue liner has four points (goal, three assists) in 21 games for Buran Voronezh of the VHL, Russia's second tier league, this season. Bychkov previously helped Russia to a bronze medal at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in 2019.

Mantykivi was picked by Boston in the sixth round of the 2019 Draft. The 19-year-old has four assists in 17 games for SaiPa in the Finnish Liiga in 2020-21. He has represented Finland in various international events during each of the last four seasons.

Bruins 2019 first-round pick (30th overall) Johnny Beecher was not named to Team USA's final roster. According to The Boston Globe, Beecher's father, Bill, said that the 19-year-old New York native tested positive for COVID-19 early Saturday, causing him to be left off the roster.

Team USA general manager John Vanbiesbrouck confirmed that the team had one positive test on Saturday morning but did not disclose the name of the player. Vanbiesbrouck said that the club was bound by strict protocols and guidelines set out by the IIHF when asked about having to send home Beecher and Sharks prospect Thomas Bordeleau. 

"This isn't optimal. But we're up against really strict protocols and we've been doing everything as diligent as we can possibly do it," Vanbiesbrouck said on Saturday afternoon during a press conference with coach Nate Leaman. "Due to the circumstances that were presented early this morning, the requirements of us having to get our list in, there was no way to mitigate the circumstances that were before us. It's unfortunate for a couple players."

"I would say that it was protocol-related, not directly coronavirus-related," Vanbiesbrouck added. "There's been no detecting of anything like that other than a test that came back. We're bound by the rules that when a test comes back that we have to mitigate against that."

Vanbiesbrouck said Beecher and Bordeleau were "crushed" by the news that they would be forced to leave the team.

"We were informed early, early this morning Eastern Standard Time," said Vanbiesbrouck. "We appealed, did everything we could to understand and disseminate information, talk to our doctor group. They had to get back to the IIHF with these protocols, but the players were crushed."

Beecher, who was on the squad for last year's tournament, has a goal and an assist in eight games as a sophomore for the University of Michigan this season.

The 2021 World Junior Championship will be held from Dec. 25-Jan. 5 at Rogers Place in Edmonton. The tournament will be held in a bubble format without spectators due to COVID-19.

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