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World Juniors

Mittelstadt, Brown, Yamamoto click at World Junior Summer Showcase

Line from 2016 United States World U-18 Championship team combines for nine points in USA White win

by Adam Kimelman and Mike G. Morreale / Staff Writers

PLYMOUTH, Mich. -- USA White's top line of left wing Casey Mittelstadt (Buffalo Sabres), center Logan Brown (Ottawa Senators) and right wing Kailer Yamamoto (Edmonton Oilers) didn't need long to rediscover its chemistry.

The line combined for nine points (four goals, five assists) in an 8-2 victory against Canada Red in a World Junior Summer Showcase game at USA Hockey Arena on Tuesday.

Mittelstadt, Brown and Yamamoto were linemates and helped the United States win the bronze medal at the 2016 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. They combined for 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) at that event.


[RELATED: World Junior Summer Showcase schedule]


"Me, [Brown and Yamamoto] made a lot of quick little passes, were moving and trying to find some open areas, and I think that's what we do really well together," said Mittelstadt, who had two goals and two assists Tuesday. "That's when I'm at my best."

Mittelstadt was an early cut from last year's Summer Showcase and didn't play at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship but appears determined to be an offensive leader for the 2018 WJC team.

"Last year wasn't how I wanted it to go, so I wanted to come here, make plays right away and try to get a little bit of redemption," he said. "The key I think is some guys have some unfinished business, so being able to come out and try to make some plays and get to play with [Yamamoto and Brown] helps a lot."

Brown had two goals and one assist, and Yamamoto had two assists. 

Patrick Harper (Nashville Predators) had three points (one goal, two assists) Joseph Anderson (New Jersey Devils), and Maxwell Gerlach (2018 Draft eligible) and defenseman Dylan Samberg (Winnipeg Jets) scored. Jake Oettinger (Dallas Stars) made 22 saves.

Forwards Cliff Pu (Sabres) and Brett Howden (Tampa Bay Lightning) scored for Canada.

Here are four other things we learned Tuesday:


Michael DiPietro watching, learning from Carter Hart

Goaltender Michael DiPietro (Vancouver Canucks) is competing for a spot with Canada at the World Junior Championship for the first time, so he's keeping a close eye on his roommate at the Summer Showcase, goaltender Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers).

Hart was the starter at the 2017 WJC and helped Canada win the silver medal.

"We were talking in the room and I said 'give me some wisdom,' " DiPietro said. "He said 'don't overcomplicate things, it's only August.' The coaches here said they told him last year we're not evaluating here. … Having him here, he's been through the process before. Me as the first time, it benefits me."

DiPietro made 11 saves on 12 shots in 24:41 of relief of Hart, who stopped all 19 shots in Canada White's 2-1 victory against USA Blue.

"It was nice to get back out there and get back into that game style," Hart said. "Nice refresher to get back into the routine of things, the routine of the game. Felt good to be out there and playing hockey again."

St. Louis Blues prospects Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas scored for Canada Blue.

Timothy Gettinger (New York Rangers) scored for USA White. Joseph Woll (Toronto Maple Leafs) made 27 saves.

Joshua Norris out to make his own World Junior memories

U.S. forward Joshua Norris (San Jose Sharks) is trying to become the second generation of his family to play in the WJC.

His father Dwayne scored the winning goal for Canada in the gold medal game at the 1990 WJC, a team that featured Hockey Hall of Fame member Eric Lindros and four-time Stanley Cup winner Kris Draper.

"He brings that one up a little bit," Norris said. "Who wouldn't? Other than that he keep pretty quiet."

Norris said he's talked to his father about what it would be like for him to play for the U.S. at the 2018 WJC.

"He said some of his best hockey memories are from that tournament," Norris said. "Made a lot of great friends from those couple weeks over there. Said he had a blast. He said to take everything in this week and have fun."

After the Summer Showcase Norris will get ready for his freshman season at Michigan. Choosing Michigan wasn't easy for the son of two Michigan State alums.

"It's a big rivalry," he said. "You go to State, you bleed green and white, and when you go to Michigan you bleed blue and maize. … I had my graduation party for high school about a month ago and one of my best buddies gave my parents a couple pieces of Michigan apparel so they'd have to wear it. Hopefully they'll put that stuff on."


Finland looks to rebound

Finland coach Jussi Ahokas would prefer to look ahead instead of dwelling on the past, and for good reason. 

At the 2017 WJC, Finland became the first defending gold medalist to miss the quarterfinals the following tournament. Coach Jukka Rautakorpi and his staff were fired after three successive loses in the preliminary round. Ahokas replaced him and guided Finland to a two-game sweep of Latvia in the best-of-3 relegation round. The ninth-place finish was Finland's worst in the tournament's 41-year history.

Ahokas returns as coach for the 2018 WJC and has been providing positive reinforcement this week.

"It's a totally new season and we don't talk about what happened [in the 2017 WJC]," he said. "For me it was a bad situation that I had to jump in to coach, so we haven't talked about that. Now it's a totally new project what we're doing with these boys."


Greenway hopes to impress U.S. staff

USA White defenseman James Greenway (Maple Leafs) is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Jordan Greenway (Minnesota Wild), who helped the U.S. win the gold medal at the 2017 WJC.

Greenway arrived Sunday as a replacement for injured defensemen Ryan Lindgren (Boston Bruins), Tyler Inamoto (Florida Panthers) and Chad Krys (Chicago Blackhawks). Defenseman David Farrance (Predators) also was added.

"Everyone wants to get the call to come here and I was fortunate enough to be a late pick, so I'm here and I just have to play my game and do what I can to make the team in December," Greenway said.

Greenway said seeing his brother win World Junior gold has him wanting a medal.

"It's awesome to see him succeed and it motivates me to hopefully be in a position like he was at this year's tournament for the U.S.," he said.

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