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World Juniors

Anderson plays leading role for United States at Summer Showcase

Forward has hat trick, showcases versatility in win against Canada

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

PLYMOUTH, Mich. -- It felt more like Jan. 5 than Aug. 5 during the final game of the World Junior Summer Showcase between the United States and Canada at USA Hockey Arena on Saturday.

Defensemen Adam Fox (Calgary Flames) had a goal and four assists and forward Joseph Anderson (New Jersey Devils) had a hat trick and an assist in a 7-5 U.S. defeat of Canada.

The win came seven months to the day after the U.S. defeated Canada 5-4 in a shootout in the gold medal game at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Fox and Anderson were part of that U.S. team, and despite it being summer hockey Saturday, the game had a tournament-level intensity.

 

[RELATED: 10 players who impressed at World Junior Summer Showcase | Complete World Juniors coverage]

 

"Anytime you play Canada it's a pretty intense game," Fox said. "You definitely felt the pace and the intensity out there."

Anderson played a big role for the U.S. at the 2017 WJC and he's out for even more at the 2018 WJC, which will be held Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Buffalo.

"I want to expand on what roles I can play," Anderson said. "I want to show them I have multiple dimensions and can play any position they need."

Coach Bob Motzko said Anderson seems like a different player now for having gone through the World Junior process.

"Just the confidence level," he said. "I got to see this last year when he was at [Minnesota-Duluth]. … He's heavy and strong, never cheats any corner. He can be on the power play, kill penalties, play on the top line, in the last minute. He's such a big-time player."

Kailer Yamamoto (Edmonton Oilers), Patrick Harper (Nashville Predators) and Ryan Poehling (Montreal Canadiens) each had a goal and an assist for the U.S. Joseph Woll (Toronto Maple Leafs) had 16 saves.

Sam Steel (Anaheim Ducks) led Canada with a goal and two assists. Steel was left off the 2017 WJC roster and came to the Summer Showcase to prove he belongs on the 2018 team.

"I definitely came in with the attitude that I want to be on the team this year," he said. "It's something that every kid dreams about. It's an important event. I just want to put my best foot forward and hopefully I can earn a spot on the team."

In two games, he had five points (two goals, three assists).

"He's taken a good step," Canada coach Dominick Ducharme said. "He's on the puck, his skating has taken a step. We saw the skills, we saw the goal scoring. The way he was shooting the puck last year in December, now I think he's added some pace to his game. He's a really good player."

Pierre-Luc Dubois (Columbus Blue Jackets) had a goal and an assist for Canada, and Jonah Gadjovich (Vancouver Canucks), Givani Smith (Detroit Red Wings) and Jordan Kyrou (St. Louis Blues) scored. Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers) started in goal and made 10 saves on 14 shots in 30:22. Dylan Wells (Oilers) made four saves on six shots in 28:07.

 

Oskar Steen, Joni Ikonen shoot the lights out

Sweden forward Oskar Steen (Boston Bruins) finished the WJSS in the best way possible, scoring four goals in a 6-5 overtime defeat of Finland.

"Was a really good night," Steen said. "I have been working hard this tournament. It was very good feeling for me to score these goals."

Sweden coach Tomas Monten said it was good to see Steen rewarded for his hard work.

"He works all over the ice," Monten said. "He is a scorer. He hasn't scored, but still he worked hard and he made checks and things like that."

Finland forward Joni Ikonen (Canadiens) had a hat trick, including a game-tying power-play goal with 51.2 seconds remaining in regulation.

Like Steen, Ikonen's goals Saturday were his first of the camp.

"I had chances all the time," he said. "Coaching staff, myself, I really expected myself to score some goals, get some points. Today I did that so that's good."

Sweden won in overtime on a goal by Tim Soderlund (Chicago Blackhawks), who celebrated his moment by tripping over the blue line.

Tweet from @ryanbiech: Tim Soderlund (#Blackhawks) blasts it home to give Sweden the 6-5 win...then trips over the blueline in the celly#WJSS pic.twitter.com/b3H1AVnmHE

Soderlund had a goal and two assists, and Jesper Boqvist (Devils) scored. Filip Larsson (Red Wings) made 26 saves.

Juha Jaaska (2018 draft eligible) and Aarne Talvitie (Devils) scored for Finland. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Buffalo Sabres) had 26 saves.

 

Elias Pettersson happy anywhere on the ice

Sweden forward Elias Pettersson (Canucks) generally plays center but saw time at all three forward spots in four games at the Summer Showcase.

He didn't mind bouncing around but said he's best suited in the middle.

"I prefer center," he said. "I think my game, what I'm capable of, center suits me best."

Sweden coach Tomas Monten said moving Pettersson to the wing allowed him to have more offensive chances. He didn't have any points but his 10 shots on goal were tied for sixth on the team.

Pettersson said wherever the coaches want him is where he'll go.

"I like to play center, I like to play wing," he said. "As long I get to play."

 

Aarne Talvitie pleasant surprise for Finland

Talvitie said even he was surprised by how well he played during the WJSS.

"I had hopes I'd be good here," he said. "I didn't expect I would be playing on the first line and my game would be so good. But I'll take everything I can take."

In five games, Talvitie had two goals and was fifth on the team with 11 shots on goal. He played the final three games at left wing on the top line with center Janne Kuokkanen (Carolina Hurricanes) and right wing Jerry Turkulainen (2018 draft eligible).

"It's how he works, how he plays the defensive game, how he gets turnovers for our team," coach Jussi Ahokas said. "Good speed. He plays the way we want. He's been a good team player. … Only thing he could do better is utilize the [scoring] chances he's had but otherwise he's been great."

Talvitie said the week has been a confidence booster for him heading into the season.

"Before the tournament I looked forward to see how I can manage against these guys here because there are the best juniors in the world," he said. "Nice to see that I'm able to play against them. … Nice to get some confidence here."

 

Scouts, GMs, see Summer Showcase as can't-miss viewing

Representatives from all 31 NHL teams were on hand for the Summer Showcase, including general managers Ron Hextall (Flyers), Ron Francis (Hurricanes), Lou Lamoriello (Maple Leafs) and Ken Holland (Red Wings), among others.

"I don't have an opportunity to see these players the way our scouts see them day in and day out," said Lamoriello, who was accompanied by Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock. "Coming here gives you an opportunity to see them three and four different times at a point when they've already been drafted or they're in their draft year. So you see certain things you wouldn't see during the year being with the team."

For Sabres director of amateur scouting Ryan Jankowski, who was hired July 9, he used the tournament to watch the 2018 NHL Draft-eligible players and to get to know some of the Sabres prospects.

"I think you get a sense on the players who have been drafted and where they fit with their peer group," he said. "It's a snapshot post-draft of were the guys who were recently drafted are, where the guys drafted two years ago are. It's a piece of the puzzle."

Red Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin said the camp provides scouts and managers the opportunity to see how players prospects respond to skating against the best players in their age group.

"A best-on-best tournament like this, with what's supposed to be the premier under-20 players for these four countries, it's an entirely different environment to evaluate these players. … You get to evaluate them against the best of their peer group. You see players in completely different lights in this area. I think its outstanding."

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