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 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. His latest entry comes after the U.S. beat Finland 2-1 in Montreal on Dec. 26 in its first game at the WJC.
This is going to be a lot of fun.
The game against Finland on Friday was an awakening for me of what the tournament is going to be like. Finland played unbelievable, and it showed us that every game is going to be a battle.
The day got started early for me. I woke up at 7:30, got breakfast and our team went for a team walk. I went back to the hotel for a little nap, we had a pregame meal at 11, I got stretched, took a shower and headed over to the rink at around 12:45. We always play a game of soccer before; kick it around, get warmed up. We had a video session and hopped on the ice.
The game was a dogfight.
I think a lot of it is that Finland’s a good team. The way they play -- they play very structured; they wait for us to make mistakes. That’s the style they play.
We had a few breakdowns, but that’s going to happen. It’s about limiting your mistakes, and the team that does that will end up winning. So we’ll go watch the game as a team Friday night, watch our mistakes, watch our turnovers and work on it Saturday at practice.
For me, playing my first game at the World Juniors was a great experience. It’s a fast-paced game, it’s a fast-paced tournament. Guys are strong. But I love it.
I love playing a fast-paced game. I’m an offensive guy and I had a lot of fun out there. It was a great game, a great test for me and it was good preparation for the rest of the tournament and what I’m going to see.
I can’t wait for the next game.