Two names not included on the United States National Junior Team selection camp roster revealed Wednesday were defensemen Seth Jones and Jacob Trouba.
Each played a key role in leading the Americans to their third gold medal in tournament history at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia. This season, however, they've taken their vast talents to the NHL; Jones has nine points in 28 games with the Nashville Predators and leads all rookies with an average ice time of 23:55 per game, while Trouba has four points in 12 games with the Winnipeg Jets while playing 21:00 per game.
While they won't have a chance to defend their gold medal, it certainly didn't stop them from reminiscing about their championship run with NHL.com. The U.S. won the gold with a 3-1 win against Sweden.
and Jacob Trouba
played a key role in leading the Americans to their third gold medal in tournament history at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Photo: Getty Images)
"Going into it everybody had their best players because of the work stoppage, so you knew it was going to be a good tournament and no one gave us a shot to win," Trouba told NHL.com. "But everyone in that locker room believed we could win. We definitely weren't the best players there but I think we definitely had the best team and proved it."
All 20 skaters on the United States roster had at least one point and they closed the event in dominant fashion with four straight victories. Even goalie John Gibson, named the tournament's best goaltender after posting a 5-2 record with a 1.36 goals-against average and .955 save percentage, had two assists.
"We knew coming in that we had great depth along the forward lines, and it just turned out that 22 guys would help bring it home," Jones told NHL.com.
Trouba, who finished with four goals and nine points in seven games, was named the tournament's top defenseman.
"We knew we had good goaltending with Gibson and a good defensive corps and that's kind of what you build your team around," Jones said. "But really I'd have to give Gibson 90 percent of the credit. He was unbelievable all tournament and we did have forwards that came alive there like [John] Gaudreau, so it was a full team effort."
Coach Phil Housley credited the team's ability to learn from mistakes in consecutive 2-1 preliminary-round losses to Russia and Canada while making the most of their opportunities on special teams.
"I think we were getting better every game," Housley told NHL.com. "Even in the losses we had chances to win and we just stuck to structure in building our game from game to game. Obviously John Gibson was very good, but we had opportunistic scoring at the right time. We broke out and it all came together in our fourth game [a 9-3 win against Slovakia]. That's the way I look at it."
U.S. camp features three '13 gold medalists
By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer
Three players from last year's gold-medal winning team were among the 26 players invited by USA Hockey to a selection camp for the 2014 World Junior Championship. READ MORE ›
The U.S. received great work from its penalty killers all tournament. Against Sweden in the gold-medal game the Americans yielded one goal in three power-play opportunities to close the event with the highest penalty-killing percentage (89.2), allowing three power-play goals in 28 times shorthanded.
"Usually the team with the best goalie is going to win those types of tournaments," Trouba said. "You have to figure it out pretty quick because if you don't you can really slump. We lost games early and then played pretty well down the stretch and built off it."
Jones still considers winning gold for his country at the 2013 WJC the crowning achievement to this point in his career.
"It's one of the best hockey moments so far for me," he said. "I've had a chance to represent USA Hockey on a few different levels and on an under-18 level, but that one felt a little different because the [World Junior Championship] was during the lockout. Everyone was there and it felt really good. Knowing a lot of the guys I've seen for a quite a while and having such great chemistry with all of them, it showed down the stretch during the medal round."
The U.S. outscored the opposition 15-2 during its three-game medal-round sweep of the Czech Republic (7-0), Canada (5-1) and Sweden (3-1).
"I'm sure [2014 U.S. WJC] coach Don Lucia will have a good grasp of that team; I've heard a lot of great things about him and he has a good track record," Jones said. "They'll pick another good team as they do every year. USA Hockey has always chosen a team and not individual players to help them win; that's what they'll do this year too."