J.T. Compher will be sticking around Lake Placid for a few more days, but Justin Bailey is headed home to Buffalo. Bailey was one of the 13 players sent packing Tuesday morning as Team USA reduced its National Junior Evaluation Camp roster to 31, with games remaining this week against Canada, Finland and Sweden.
The remaining players are auditioning for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will take part in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden.
“As a staff, we have been happy with the players’ intensity and compete level,” said Jim Johannson, USA Hockey’s assistant executive director of hockey operations and the general manager of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team. “The players released today will continue to be evaluated this fall for Team USA. For the players that are staying, the games this week give us an opportunity to continue assessing them.”
The trimmed Team USA roster will play Sweden on Wednesday (Aug. 7), Finland on Thursday (Aug. 8) and Canada on Saturday (Aug. 10). All games are being played at the Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena. -- Kevin Snow
Day two of international exhibitions took place Monday (August 5) at the 2013 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY. The games provided USA hopefuls one last chance to impress before teams Blue and White are consolidated into one roster for the rest of the week’s action. Gustav Possler
(2013, fifth round) scored a goal and two assists to lead Sweden to their second-straight victory of the tournament 4-3 over USA Blue. The MODO product connected with Sebastian Collberg (MTL) for a pair of power play helpers in the opening period as the Swedes went to the intermission with a 2-0 lead. Possler would give Sweden a 3-0 advantage at 6:41 of the second period when he took a short feed at the blue line and waltzed in to bury a wrist shot for his first goal of the tournament.
CLICK TO WATCH POSSLER HIGHLIGHT PACKAGE
With Filip Forsberg (NSH) and Elias Lindholm (CAR) removed from Sweden’s U20 roster due to the likelihood of both playing professionally in North America this fall, an opportunity was created for lesser known talents to emerge. Possler has seized his chance with a two solid performances on the top line heading into the second half of the tournament.
Justin Bailey (2013, second round) continued to show flashes of his budding power game in the loss for USA Blue. Moved to a line with Matthew Lane and John Hayden (CHI), Bailey’s best chance to produce came early in the first period when he corralled a puck and kicked it into gear down the left side before tossing a pass to the front that was just out of reach of the crashing centerman. Bailey rounded out his effort with some work on the penalty kill.
USA/SWEDEN GAME SUMMARY
In the day’s second game, J.T. Compher (2013 second round) continued to play his agitating two-way style as USA White dominated Finland 5-2 for the Americans’ first victory of the week. Compher did everything but score a goal, mixing intense pressure on the forecheck, blocked shots on the penalty kill, and controlled board play to make things difficult for his Finnish counterparts. Compher’s versatility and previous international experience should make him a valuable piece in the eyes of the USA coaching staff moving forward.
USA/FINLAND GAME SUMMARY
The teams will go through a day of practices on Tuesday before game action resumes Wednesday. Finland kicks things off with a date with Canada at 1 p.m. ET, followed by Team USA versus Sweden at 4:15 p.m. ET.