Two Minnesota Wild prospects will represent their countries at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Ulf, Russia. Mario Lucia
will skate for Team USA, while Christoph Bertschy
will represent Team Switzerland.
In two pre-tournament exhibition games, Lucia tallied an assist – a beautiful backhand saucer pass setup – in a 3-2 win against Team Sweden.
Last summer, the Plymouth resident was one of 45 players attended the 2012 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., scoring three goals in three games for Team USA Blue.
The Wild’s second-round pick (60th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft is in his freshman year at the University of Notre Dame. After suffering a broken leg during captain’s practices prior to the season, he has come back with a vengeance, twice named the CCHA’s Rookie of the Week. In nine games since returning, he has five goals and five assists for 10 points. Three of his goals have come on the man advantage.
Team USA will begin tournament play at 8 a.m. (CST) on Thursday, Dec. 27 against Team Germany. All of the U.S. games will air live on the NHL Network. Wild.com will post highlights of all Team USA games.
Bertschy represented Switzerland at last year’s WJC, scoring two goals and two assists in six games. The Swiss went 2-4 at the WJC last year.
Last month, the forward ranked second on Switzerland with six points (3-3=6) in five games at the World Junior A Challenge, finishing third in the tournament. The challenge was a warm up tournament for the World Junior Championship. The Swiss finished third in the tournament.
In 27 games with SC Bern of the Swiss Elite League, the winger has four points (2-2=4).
Team Switzerland kicks off its tournament against Team Latvia tomorrow.