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, who has two goals and seven points in 17 games for the Eagles this season, was one of 30 players invited to the United States National Junior Team selection camp on the campus of Boston University from Dec. 16-19. He 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 at 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 NHL.com leading up to the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Fla. This latest entry came after the U.S. National Junior Team lost to Canada, 5-3, in preliminary-round action on Dec. 31.
Well, we lost a tough game [Wednesday]. Afterwards, our coach [Mark Osiecki] came in and asked 'How many of you have won a championship and gone undefeated?' The point was that it doesn't happen very often, so we can learn a lot from that game. Both teams are in the next round and we'll focus on the next game [against Russia on Friday], but there's a lot we can learn from playing a great team like that.
I had a tough time sleeping last night because I was so excited about the game. I woke up pretty early, had breakfast and came back, stretched out a little bit and went for a warmup. Then we came over to [Bell Centre in Montreal] to get ready for the game.
Coming out for pregame warmups was fantastic. I was pumped up for it; the fans were great. It was like an NHL atmosphere. It was crazy and a great experience.
The thing about Canada is that they stick to their game plan very well. They play the same way the entire 60 minutes. I thought both teams really battled hard and it was a high-intensity game. They got some lucky bounces and it cost us, but we'll watch film, learn from it and move forward.
I liked the fight we showed in the end in our attempt to come back. One motto of our team is resilience and we want to be a resilient team. I think in the end we started to fight back a little bit, but we didn't come all the way back.
I did sense that they were paying special attention to Jack Eichel but he kept fighting through it. He's a tough kid and that speaks a lot about him. He was fighting through some tough hits out there. It was a tough game out there but very cool. I grew up watching the world junior tournament and that type of game was a great example of what this whole tournament is all about. It was a really intense, high-paced game. I love playing a fast-paced game where your constantly moving your feet and skating a lot.
So now both teams have made it through to the medal round and we'll have to prepare for another tough game on Friday. Hopefully, we'll get a chance to play Canada again.
Follow Noah Hanifin on Twitter: @nhanifin