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Merchant replaces Erne on Prospects Game roster

by Mike G. Morreale

All-American Prospects Game roster

Team McClanahan

Goalies: Cal Petersen, Waterloo (USHL); Jared Rutledge, University of Michigan (CCHA).
Defensemen: Gage Ausmus, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Will Butcher, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Trevor Hamilton, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Seth Jones, Portland (WHL); Clint Lewis, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Dakota Mermis, University of Denver (WCHA).
Forwards: Justin Bailey, Kitchener (OHL); Taylor Cammarata, Waterloo (USHL); Cole Cassels, Oshawa (OHL); Austin Farley, University of Minnesota-Duluth (WCHA); Hudson Fasching, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Ryan Fitzgerald, Valley Jr. Warriors (EJHL); Luke Johnson, Lincoln (USHL); Matt Lane, Boston University (HEA); Jimmy Lodge, Saginaw (OHL); Mike McCarron, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Jacob Montgomery, Sioux City (USHL); Quentin Shore, University of Denver (WCHA).

Team Housley

Goalies: Hunter Miska, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Eamon McAdam, Waterloo (USHL).
Defense: Cody Corbett, Edmonton (WHL); Mike Downing, Dubuque (USHL); Ian McCoshen, Waterloo (USHL); Steve Santini, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Scott Savage, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Keaton Thompson, USNTDP U-18 (USHL).
Forwards: Evan Allen, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); J.T. Compher, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Dawson Cook, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Ryan Hartman, Plymouth (OHL); Tyler Kelleher, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Anthony Louis, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Sean Malone, USNTDP U-18; Tyler Motte, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Ross Olsson, Lincoln (USHL); Devin Tringale, USNTDP U-18 (USHL); Frank Vatrano, Boston College (HEA); Will Merchant, University of Maine (HEA).

Following a stellar senior season at Eagan (Minn.) High School, forward Will Merchant went unselected at the 2012 NHL Draft.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound left wing is determined to do all he can this season to convince NHL scouts they made a mistake.

The first step in that process will come Sept. 29, when he takes part in the CCM/USA All-American Prospects Game, to be played at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo.

Merchant, now a freshman at the University of Maine, will replace Quebec Remparts forward Adam Erne, who is unable to attend the game, on the team coached by Phil Housley.

Merchant was invited to the Minnesota Wild's summer prospect development camp, and told the Maine Hockey Journal he felt confident skating alongside many of the Wild's top prospects.

"I thought I did really well for my first time there," he said. "I was able to compete and play my game. The speed and size of the players was the biggest adjustment for me. Everybody out there is big, but I got an idea of what it'll be like in college."

Merchant said the invitation to Minnesota's development camp one day after the completion of the 2012 NHL Draft.

"I was a little disappointed about not being drafted because I thought I would be picked," Merchant said. "But playing in the prospect camp was a good thing, for sure."

Last season Merchant had 25 goals and 52 points as a senior at Eagan High, which finished 25-5-1. He also was a finalist for the prestigious Mr. Hockey Award, given to the top high school hockey player in Minnesota.

Maine finished 23-14-3 last season and reached the first round of the NCAA Division I tournament, and Merchant said he's looking forward to helping it to another successful season.

"They're a really fast team that likes to play physical," Merchant told "I like to do that too, so I think it's a good fit for me. I've got to keep working on my skating. I've been working out four or five times a week this summer."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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