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U.S. faces tough lineup decisions against Canada

by Adam Kimelman

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- United States coach Don Lucia had most of his players on the ice for practice Friday as the team prepared for its final game of the national junior evaluation camp, Saturday against Canada.

Lucia said he's watched parts of Canada's two games so far, wins against Finland and Sweden and said he's been impressed by what he's seen.

"They have a lot to choose from," he said. "The hard part for them is going to be which guys to select, ultimately. They're big, they're strong, they're talented -- kind of like they are every year. … They're obviously very deep."

Lucia said he'll have 13 forwards and either seven or eight defensemen in his lineup Saturday, but hadn't finalized the roster details yet. However, from the morning practice, among those sitting out will be forwards Taylor Cammarata, Jake Guentzel and Michael McCarron, and well as defensemen Michael Brodzinski and Connor Clifton. Two more forwards, one goalie and possibly one defenseman will have to be added to that list.

Just because those players are sitting out, however, means little as far as the players' standing in the eyes of Lucia and his staff.

"There will be some kids not playing that probably earned the right to be in the game [Saturday]," Lucia said, "but we're not choosing a team [Saturday] to say that this is who we think our best 22 guys are at this stage. It's still an ongoing process. We want to reward some people, but there will be some people sitting out [Saturday] that if we played the tournament would be in our lineup based on what they've done. But still, it's an evaluation process and we don't want to lose sight of that fact."

Here is how the United States looked in practice Friday, which featured all three goalies -- Jon Gillies, Anthony Stolarz and Thatcher Demko -- splitting time in net during drills:

Thomas Di Pauli - Andrew Copp - Hudson Fasching

Nicolas Kerdiles - Quentin Shore - Adam Erne

Zach Stepan - Boo Nieves - Henrik Samuelsson

Tyler Motte - Dominic Toninato - J.T. Compher

Stefan Matteau - Daniel O'Regan - Riley Barber

Brett Pesce - Will Butcher

Brady Skjei - Connor Carrick

Steven Santini - Ian McCoshen

Patrick Sieloff - Matthew Grzelcyk


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