Pittsburgh will be well represented at the 2012 World Junior Championship as Penguins prospect Josh Archibald
and four players who played for the Pittsburgh Hornets amateur hockey program – forwards Brandon Saad (Gibsonia, Pa.) and J.T. Miller (East Palestine, OH); defenseman Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.); and goaltender John Gibson (Pittsburgh, Pa.) – were named to Team USA’s final 22-man roster this morning.
This year’s World Junior Championship will be held Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. Team USA will be looking to medal for the third straight year (2011, Bronze; 2010, Gold).
Archibald, 19, played well for Team USA in two exhibition games earlier this week, scoring a goal and an assist. Archibald, a sixth-round pick (174th overall) in 2011, has scored seven goals and 11 points in 20 games for Nebraska-Omaha of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).
Archibald was named the WCHA’s rookie of the week on Nov. 15 after collecting a team-best four points (2G-2A) in two games that weekend. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Archibald was a finalist last season for the state of Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey award after notching 27 goals, 46 assists and 73 points in 25 games for Brainerd High School.
Archibald’s addition to Team USA gives the Penguins three players in this year’s WJC – joining earlier selections Scott Harrington
(Canada) and Dominik Uher
Saad, 19, made the Chicago Blackhawks opening-night roster and appeared in two NHL games this season before being re-assigned to his junior team, the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Saad, Chicago’s second-round draft pick (43rd overall) in June, has scored 10 goals and 22 points in 13 games with the Spirit. Saad had five points (2G-3A) in Team USA’s 7-3 win over Switzerland on Wednesday night.
Miller, 19, ranks among the top scorers in the OHL with 39 points (13G-26A) in 31 games for the Plymouth Whalers. Miller was drafted by the New York Rangers 15th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft – making him the highest-drafted Pittsburgh amateur hockey player ever. Miller had two points (1G-1A) in two exhibition games for Team USA this week.
Johns, 19, is in his sophomore campaign with Notre Dame of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA), where he has two goals and six points in 20 games. Last season, Johns, who was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round (60th overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft, notched 13 points (2G-11A) in 44 games.
Gibson, 19, has split the goaltending chores this season for the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. Gibson has appeared in 21 games for Kitchener, going 14-6 with a 2.52 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. Anaheim made Gibson the second goaltender chosen in the 2011 NHL Draft when they selected him in the second round (39th overall). Gibson stopped 14 of 17 shots to earn the win in Team USA’s exhibition game against Switzerland on Wednesday.