Preds Trio Post Strong Showings at USA Evaluation Camp
/ Nashville Predators
Predators prospects Jonathon Blum, Jeremy Smith, and Colin Wilson wrapped up a successful week-long stint at USA Hockey's Junior Evaluation Camp (August 1-9). The Camp is used as part of the selection process for Team USA's entry into this winter's World Junior Championships (Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Ottawa, Ontario). All three Preds prospects were a part of Team USA at last year's World Junior Championships and each is expected to play more of a leadership role of this year's team.
Finland and Sweden also sent Junior squads to the Evaluation camp with three countries playing a round-robin style exhibition schedule. Team USA was split in to two teams USA Blue and USA White with each USA team two games against Team Finland and two games against Team Sweden. Overall the US team won five of the eight games, splitting the four games against Team Sweden and taking three of the four against Team Finland.
Smith split his two starts for Team USA, bouncing back from an overtime loss to Sweden on Tuesday to stop 23-of-25 shots in a 5-2 win over Team Finland on Saturday, including turning aside all 10 shots in the third period to seal the win against Finland.
Blum finished the exhibition schedule with one goal and three assists. His four points were most among Team USA defensemen. Blum's best game came on Friday against Team Finland. He scored a first period power-play goal to tie the score 2-2 and then added a pair of third period assists to help rally his squad from two goals down to force overtime, 4-4. Finland eventually picked up the win with a goal late in the overtime session.
Wilson was "traded" from USA Blue to USA While after the first two days of exhibition games as USA Hockey looked for different potential line combinations. He finished the four games with three assists, picking up a pair of assists on Ryan Bourque's power-play goals in USA Blue's 4-1 win against Team Finland in the opening game of the Camp and then adding an assist on James van Riemsdyk's second period goal in USA White's 5-2 win over Finland on Saturday.