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Merrill clears first cuts at U.S. Nat'l Eval Camp

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Merrill at this summer's prospect camp.
Devils’ prospect Jonathon Merrill is one step closer to a spot on the U.S National Junior Team.

The 18-year-old defenseman made it through Monday’s first round of cuts at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp, and was set to suit up for the U.S. in their 4 p.m. ET meeting with Sweden on Tuesday.

The camp opened last Friday at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Merrill, the Devils’ second-round pick at this year’s Draft, will participate in games this week versus Sweden and Finland. Team USA battles each team twice through Aug. 7.

Measuring in at 6-3, 200 lbs., Merrill hopes to make the U.S. squad that will head to Buffalo for the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in December. The Americans captured the gold last year, toppling Canada in overtime.

Merrill is no stranger to success in red, white and blue. He was a member of the U.S. Under-18 team that won back-to-back golds in 2009 and 2010. He will attend Michigan (CCHA) in the fall. 

Sweden beat Finland, 5-3, in the camp’s first game on Monday. Devils’ 2009 first-rounder Jacob Josefson picked up an assist for the Swedes as he looks to make his third appearance in the World Junior tourney. The 19-year-old center captured silver in 2009, then tallied three goals, three assists in six games when Sweden took bronze in 2010.
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