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Leafs prospect Biggs has big game for U.S.

by Adam Kimelman

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- To be good, it takes a helping of luck, and Tyler Biggs had a double helping of that Saturday.

Biggs scored both goals in Team USA's 3-2 overtime loss to Finland on the final day of the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp, but neither goal could be classified as a work of art.

"I got pretty lucky with some opportunities," he told "I'm standing in front on the power play, Griz [Matthew Grzelcyk] throws one, bounces off me and goes up and in. I throw one across, it bounces off a guy, comes right back to me."

Each goal tied the game, with his second, with 2:44 remaining regulation, forcing overtime.

U.S. coach Phil Housley said he's been impressed how Biggs improved throughout the week. The coach believes it takes bigger players longer to get going, especially on the international-size ice, but Housley said he saw a lot of good things from the Toronto Maple Leafs power-forward prospect, who's 6-foot-2, 205 pounds.

"I think he's improved every game," Housley said. "Look at the Sweden game, compared to this game, and he finally gets rewarded for his hard work. It's great to see him make some progress."

Biggs agreed that he felt better as the week went on, and thought he was able to shine in the offensive end once he got his legs going.

"I really tried to focus on getting to pucks first and finishing checks, keeping pucks down low, protecting it," he said. "I thought it was one of my better games, for sure."

Biggs finished the week second to Sean Kuraly with four goals and seven points in five games. Off the ice, he signed his first professional contract, an entry-level deal with the Maple Leafs, on Friday.

"I guess you could say I'm relieved," said Biggs, taken by the Leafs with the 22nd pick of the 2011 draft. "I'm excited. I'm confident. There's so many emotions that go along with it. I couldn't be happier to be part of their organization finally."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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