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After latest win, Hanifin's focus turns to Canada

by Noah Hanifin

Noah Hanifin, who was given an A rating on NHL Central Scouting's November players to watch list, is a freshman at Boston College in Hockey East. The 6-foot-3, 203-pound defenseman has two goals and seven points in 17 games for the Eagles this season, and he is a member of the United States team that's competing at the World Junior Championship. Hanifin had eight goals and 33 points in 45 games for the United States Under-18 National Team Development Program in 2013-14. Hanifin, considered by many to be the best defenseman available for the 2015 NHL Draft, had one goal and five points for the United States at the IIHF 2014 World U-18 Championship. The native of Norwood, Mass., has offered to maintain a blog for leading up to the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Fla. His latest entry comes after the United States defeated Slovakia 3-0 on Dec. 29 at the WJC.

Slovakia was obviously a tough test. It was only 3-0 and it was a close game for most of it, but I thought we did a really good job of sticking to the game plan. I think that's the reason we ended up getting three goals. We really just wanted to pressure them below the goal line in the offensive zone, get pucks north, and I think when we were doing that we were all over them. So I think we did a great job coming in today and preparing well.

One of the things we wanted to focus on was taking it day by day, getting better every day as a team, and obviously three wins represents that. We did a good job of that and obviously we have one more to go and Canada's going to be a great test for us, so we're excited.

It's going to be unbelievable. It's going to be a great experience for our team, but I think we really just need to focus on our systems and what we need to do to beat Canada. It's going to be a great atmosphere and stuff, but we have a lot of work to do in the next few days just to get ready for them.

Canada's going to be a fast team. At practice tomorrow we'll probably work on up-tempo drills and getting it going because it's going to be a really fast hockey game. Like Jack Eichel said, one of the things we want to do as a team is get pucks north quick, get into their zone and play in the offensive zone a lot, so we're going to try to wear Canada down by doing that.

We want to get the first seed in the bracket. Obviously that helps us out coming into the quarterfinals, but not only that, we want to win games. We don't want to lose anything. It's Canada, so obviously it's going to be a huge game, but we want to win just as badly as we wanted to beat Slovakia today.

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