Monday was the third day of USA Hockey selection camp to determine the 23-player roster for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship to be held in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, Dec. 26-Jan. 5.
EVERETT, Wash. -- United States national junior team coach Mike Hastings learned plenty in a scrimmage that highlighted the afternoon session of USA Hockey selection camp that will determine the roster for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship at Angel of the Winds Arena on Monday.
"Our defense can move, and I thought we did a good job inside of our structure," Hastings said. "It wasn't a real loose scrimmage where there were a lot of opportunities on either end.
"On the flip side of that coin, I think we can start to get a little bit harder at trying to get more pucks to the net and look for second and third opportunities. That's something we'll try and address and make sure the guys understand this is a difficult tournament to score in, so you got to get pucks into the right areas, and often."
Hastings had brothers Quinn Hughes (Vancouver Canucks) and Jack Hughes (2019 NHL Draft-eligible) on opposite teams during the scrimmage. Jack Hughes was the center on a line with left wing Noah Cates (Philadelphia Flyers) and Tyler Madden (Vancouver Canucks). Quinn Hughes was paired with defenseman Ty Emberson (Arizona Coyotes).
"I thought (Jack) was really good out there," Quinn Hughes said. "I know he's trying to get going. This is the hardest part of the camp; getting to know everyone and getting a feel for everyone's game. Everyone is excited to start playing some games, so the scrimmage was fun."
The camp shifts to Sandman Centre in Kamloops, British Columbia, beginning Tuesday through Thursday. The U.S. will play exhibition games against Russia at Sandman Centre on Thursday (10 p.m. ET), and Czech Republic at George Preston Recreation Centre in Langley, B.C., on Saturday (10 p.m. ET). Hastings will determine his 23-player roster by Sunday.
"To get out there and get our feet under us I think was really fun," Quinn Hughes said. "It's a really good first step for us. I think we have a really smart group of guys, just watching from the bench. I think we're going to have a really smart group."
Captain to be determined
Hastings doesn't intend to name his captain until later in the camp.
There are five returning skaters who played a part in the bronze medal-winning effort at the 2018 WJC: defensemen Hughes, Dylan Samberg (Winnipeg Jets) and Michael Anderson (Los Angeles Kings); and forwards Josh Norris (Ottawa Senators) and Ryan Poehling (Montreal Canadiens).
"Leadership is just a characteristic someone holds," said Poehling, a sophomore at St. Cloud State University. "I like to lead by example whether it's on or off the ice. It's just talking out there and being communicative with others."
Michael Anderson's brother, New Jersey Devils forward Joey Anderson, served as captain at the 2018 WJC.
"The guys who were on the team last year have been through it once so we know what can go right and what can go wrong so it's about us relaying that message," said Anderson, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. "Sometimes it can be a little intimidating going out there for a new drill, but at the end of the day, we're the ones who have been through it so we've got to step up and show everyone else the way."
Defenseman Jack St. Ivany of Yale University is one of five players invited to selection camp not a part of either United States roster for the World Junior Summer Showcase in August. The 6-2, 195-pound right-handed freshman, selected by the Flyers in the fourth round (No. 112) of the 2018 NHL Draft, has so far proven he belongs.
"When I was younger I always had faith in myself that I'd make it here," St. Ivany said. "It's been a process, but I feel like I'm really stepping into that role in college. The past couple of years I've grown into my body a little more and have gained confidence and those things combined have helped me to some success."
St. Ivany has played in all situations for the Bulldogs. He has eight points (two goals, six assists) and a plus-8 rating in 12 games for Yale.
"He's come in and he's not playing nervous; he's out there and doing what he does," Hastings said. "I think he shoots the puck really well and has had opportunities to be in the same spot he is in college and has looked comfortable. I thought he's made some really good decisions defensively and in break-outs; he's processing the game well."
Knight offers his best WJC memory
Goaltender Spencer Knight of USA Hockey's Under-18 National Team Development Program recalls being on the edge of his seat during the 2017 WJC in Montreal when U.S. goalie Tyler Parsons (Calgary Flames) won back-to-back shootouts. Parsons won 4-3 against Russia (33 saves, four of seven saves in shootout) in the semifinal, and 5-4 against Canada (46 saves, five of five saves in shootout) in the gold medal game.
"It was amazing," Knight said. "It all started in that semifinal against Russia and it was probably one of the most suspenseful games I've ever watched. Parsons had to battle through a shootout against Russia, and then another shootout a day later against Canada in Canada. It doesn't get any better."
Quote of the day
"The greatest takeaway from the opening three days was that we're going to have tough decisions to make. Everett is a great junior hockey town; we watched the Teddy Bear toss on Saturday. Seattle is a vibrant community and unless you come and visit you don't really know that, so now that we've been here it's a great spot and maybe you'll have a world junior opportunity here in the not-too-distant future. I'd also say that, from a world junior position for us, this has been a great spot for us to assemble and work on things." -- U.S. general manager John Vanbiesbrouck