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U.S. opens Junior Evaluation Camp

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils

The first step in picking the teams for the 2014 World Junior Championship starts this weekend, when the United States, Finland and Sweden arrive in Lake Placid, N.Y., to take part in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp.

The teams will practice and play exhibition games from Aug. 3-10 on the Herb Brooks 1980 Arena ice at the Olympic Training Center.

Devils' 2012 first-round pick Stefan Matteau and 2013 second-round selection Steve Santini both earned invites to this year's camp. Matteau narrowly missed making the team last year, when he was the final forward cut from the U.S. squad that upended Sweden for gold.

Canada will join the U.S. in Lake Placid after a two-day camp Aug. 4-5 in Brossard, Quebec, at the Montreal Canadiens' training site. Damon Severson, the Devils' 2012 second-rounder, is set to attend.

The group Canada brings to Lake Placid will have one player from the team that finished fourth: Jake Paterson, who was the third goalie last year.

The U.S. group in Lake Placid will have two players from the team that won gold at the 2013 WJC in Ufa, Russia: forward Riley Barber and defenseman Patrick Sieloff.

That team won with an uptempo attack, and coach Don Lucia said he plans on playing the same way it did under coach Phil Housley.

"Looking at how Phil coached and his systems, I don't think the way I like to play is a whole lot different from how the team played last year," Lucia told "We want to be aggressive, we want to recruit players that can skate and take away time and space."

Sweden, which won the silver medal at last year's tournament, won't have two of its best players at the camp -- forwards Filip Forsberg and Elias Lindholm -- but they could have one of the tournament's best goaltenders, Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Oscar Dansk.

Finland, which finished seventh last year, will have two recent first-round picks leading its attempt at redemption. Chicago Blackhawks forward prospect Teuvo Teravainen had five goals and six assists in six games, and Pittsburgh Penguins defense prospect Olli Maatta had three points in five games and could be in the running for the team captaincy.

Games start Aug. 4, with a split-squad USA White team playing Sweden, and USA Blue playing Finland. On Aug. 5, USA White plays Finland and USA Blue faces Sweden.

On Aug. 7, Canada plays Finland and a cut-down U.S. team plays Sweden; Aug. 8, it's the U.S. against Finland and Canada facing Sweden. Camp closes Aug. 10 after the U.S. plays Canada and Finland faces Sweden.

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