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Farrance making quick impact at World Junior Summer Showcase

United States defenseman, an injury replacement, has four points in as many games

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PLYMOUTH, Mich. -- United States defenseman David Farrance knows how to make up for lost time.

Farrance, a third-round pick (No. 92) of the Nashville Predators in the 2017 NHL Draft, joined the U.S. at the World Junior Summer Showcase on Sunday as an injury replacement, two days after the rest of the team arrived.

 

[RELATED: Mittelstadt making impact at World Junior Summer ShowcaseNHL Network World Junior Summer Showcase schedule]

 

He went from the airport to the lineup that day against Sweden and hasn't gotten much of a break. In four games in six days, he has four points (one goal, three assists).

Farrance scored arguably the best goal of the week, going end-to-end for the game-winning power-play goal in a 4-3 victory against Finland at USA Hockey Arena on Friday.

Tweet from @ryanbiech: What. A. Goal. #preds prospect David Farrance goes end to end to put USA up 4-3#WJSS pic.twitter.com/OUkL8Cr1MP

"Just saw open ice up the middle and the puck was wobbling a little bit so it was easy to flip up," Farrance said. "Just flipped it over a couple sticks and went on a breakaway, then just tried to put it home."

Farrance said he didn't arrive with a chip on his shoulder because he wasn't part of the initial camp group. Instead, he's just enjoying the time at his former home rink the past two seasons with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program under-18 team.

"I'm just happy to be here now," he said. "It's good to be around a great group of hockey players. I'm pretty thankful for the opportunity they have given me."

Farrance said the next step is to take what he's learned this week back with him to Boston University and work toward being in the first group invited to the final select camp for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in December.

"This just shows me the level of compete all the guys have on our team and other teams and where my level of play needs to be to make such an elite team like this and be ready to go when something like this comes up," he said. 

Defenseman Adam Fox (Calgary Flames) scored two goals for the U.S., forward Riley Tufte (Dallas Stars) scored and forward Ryan Poehling (Montreal Canadiens) had three assists. Jake Oettinger (Stars) made 37 saves.

Forwards Janne Kuokkanen (Carolina Hurricanes) and Otto Koivula (New York Islanders), and defenseman Robin Salo (Islanders) scored for Finland. Lassi Lehtinen (2018 NHL Draft eligible) had 17 saves.  

Here are four other things we learned Friday:

 

Cale Makar out to impress

Canada defenseman Cale Makar (Colorado Avalanche) had some catching up to do compared to the rest of his teammates. 

Makar, who played for Brooks in the Alberta Junior Hockey League the past two seasons, was a bit of an unknown to the Hockey Canada staff. He's one of two Canada players not to play in the Canadian Hockey League. Defenseman Dennis Cholowski (Detroit Red Wings) is the other.

But Makar's performance this week, including a goal in a 7-4 victory against Sweden, has shown that he belongs among the elite players in his age group.

"I'm here to showcase what I've got and showcase what I can bring potentially to the [2018 WJC] team," Makar said. "I think you just go out there and do what you do best. … The speed is something that I treasure in my game. I think I've been fairly keeping up here. In terms of that I've done my job successfully."

Canada coach Dominique Ducharme said he knew almost nothing about Makar at the start of the Summer Showcase, but he's been impressed.

"He's got great feet, quick feet, really quick hands," Ducharme said. "He's a battler. He's competing. You can see it. He's adjusting to the game. … You see him getting better and better. We really like that."

Forward Jordan Kyrou (St. Louis Blues) had two goals and an assist for Canada, forward Sam Steel (Anaheim Ducks) had a goal and an assist, and defenseman Logan Stanley (Winnipeg Jets) and forwards Matthew Phillips (Flames) and Jonathan Ang (Florida Panthers) scored. Michael DiPietro (Vancouver Canucks) started in goal and made 14 saves on 16 shots in 31:47. Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers) stopped 12 of 14 shots in 28:08.

Forwards Fredrik Karlstrom (Stars), Lias Andersson (New York Rangers) and Axel Jonsson Fjallby (Washington Capitals), and defenseman Timothy Liljegren (Toronto Maple Leafs) scored for Sweden. Filip Gustavsson (Pittsburgh Penguins) made 19 saves.

 
New old home for Sean Day

U.S. defenseman Sean Day (Rangers) has skated at USA Hockey Arena since 2012, when he was with the Compuware minor hockey program. The building was called Compuware Arena and was home to Plymouth of the Ontario Hockey League.

In 2015, Plymouth relocated to Flint, and USA Hockey took over the arena.

"When I was here it looked a lot older and a little more dirty," Day said. "It's a little more cleaned up. I like the red, white and blue around the rink."

Besides the paint job, USA Hockey also refurbished the locker rooms and added a 20,000-square-foot workout area that includes a gym, a turf field and a shooting room.

"I remember walking out the back doors and remember it being a wide open lot," he said. "Now the extension of the building has turf inside and a huge weight room and shooting room. Coming here last year [for the Summer Showcase] and seeing that was surprising. Even when I was skating here in the summer I'd be here and they'd be doing construction so it still felt like the old building. Now that you get to see it, it's a lot different."

 
Adam Fox ready for bigger role

Coach Bob Motkzo called Fox a "designated hitter" for the U.S. at the 2017 WJC. Fox should have a larger role at the 2018 tournament.

Fox scored two goals on Friday but he wants to be known as more of an all-around defenseman.

"Trying to show myself as more of a two-way guy, not just an offensive or power-play guy," he said. "Just having a well-rounded game is what I'm focused on now. … Not getting caught up in the rush, picking my spots to go on offense. I've been trying to block a lot more shots in the [defensive] zone."

Motzko said he's seen a big jump in Fox's game from last season.

"He's taking it to another level," Motzko said. "Last year he was a designated hitter on our team, coming off the bench from an offensive standpoint and making plays for us. He's at a whole other level for us right now. We didn't take him off on the penalty kill at the end [of the game]. He's comfortable now playing the game in any situation for 60 minutes. That's a pretty special player. We all see it from the offensive side but he can handle tough minutes, too."

 

Axel Jonsson Fjallby standing out for play and hair

Jonsson Fjallby has been a solid energy forward for Sweden during the Summer Showcase, including a goal in the loss to Canada on Friday.

"He's a speedy winger and he can make plays," coach Tomas Monten said. "I think his strength is skating and forecheck and taking pucks to the net."

Another strength is the cascade of sandy blonde hair that flows nearly to the nameplate on his jersey.

Tweet from @NHLAdamK: Capitals prospect Axel Jonsson Fjallby. Hair like you dream of pic.twitter.com/XrQeck1Zto

"I like to have a bun when I'm not playing hockey," he said. "But on the ice I actually think it's kind of fun."

His teammates have been impressed.

"It's good. I like it," forward Elias Pettersson (Canucks) said. "I think it's cool. I like the flow it has."

Jonsson Fjallby's long hair also has earned him a nickname.

"I call him Tarzan sometimes," Liljegren said.

Jonsson Fjallby said he trimmed it a bit before the Summer Showcase and said it's a good length now.

"If it gets any longer I think the helmet looks bad," he said. "Now it looks OK."

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