U.S. World Junior Camp is in full swing in Lake Placid, N.Y. It really kicked into high gear Sunday when the U.S. split squads took on international competition for the first time.
USA White met Sweden, while Blue took on Finland. Unfortunately for both clubs, they ended up on the wrong end of the result.
White fell to Sweden 4-2 in the opening game, while USA Blue gave up a late goal in regulation and ended up on the short end in OT, falling 6-5.
This camp really is a special event for the summer and quite the evaluation tool for USA Hockey’s brass to make the most educated decisions on the final roster. Bringing in a group of 44 players, the haves and have nots get separated pretty quickly in these games.
The fact that both teams lost isn’t really that big of a surprise. The depth of this player pool isn’t exactly, well, deep. They’ve got some great pieces at the top, but when you split them up, it’s a lot tougher to expect better results.
Coming up after the jump, some odds and ends from camp complete with yesterday’s scoring summaries and brief analysis on a few standouts.
Scoring Summary — USA White vs. Sweden
First Period — Scoring: 1, USA WHITE, Grzelcyk (Brodzinski, Guentzel), 3:28 (pp); 2, SWE, Burakowsky (de la Rose, Pettersson) 5:32 (pp).
Second Period — Scoring: 3, Lindholm (unassisted), 13:02; 4, USA WHITE, Copp (unassisted), 14:14.
Third Period — Scoring: 5, SWE, Wallmark (Collberg, Djoos), 15:56 (pp); 6, SWE, Sundqvist (Dahlstrom), 17:59(pp).
Goalie Summary (saves/shots)
Jon Gillies (USA) — 14/15
Collin Olson (USA) — 14/17
Oscar Dansk (SWE) — 15/17
I wasn’t able to take in this game yesterday due to a scheduling conflict, but this was the squad with the weaker forward group and it showed. Managing just 17 shots isn’t going to cut it against a goalie of Dansk’s caliber.
Reports were that Jon Gillies was strong in net, which is obviously a good sign as he is the odds-on favorite to start for Team USA when the games go live at the World Juniors. There were also glowing reviews for defenseman Patrick Sieloff, who was on the club last year.
I’ll have much more detailed analysis of both games from Monday later on.
Scoring Summary — USA Blue vs. Finland
First Period — Scoring: 1, USA BLUE, Carrick (Butcher, Barber), 5:16; 2, FIN, Teravainen (Lehkonen, Maatta), 7:13.
Second Period — Scoring: 3, FIN, Leskinen (Nikko, Vainonen), 10:59; 4, FIN, Lahkonen (Teravainen, Pokka),13:47 (pp); 5, USA BLUE, O’Regan (Kerdiles, Barber), 15:36.
Third Period — Scoring: 6, USA BLUE, O’Regan (Carrick, Demko), 0:19 (pp); 7, FIN, Lehkonen (Teravainen, Maatta), 9:37 (pp); 8, USA BLUE, Fasching (Bailey, Hinostroza), 10:04; 9, USA BLUE, DeAngelo (Kerdiles, Barber), 10:33; 10, FIN, Lehkonen (Maatta, Pokka), 19:49.
Overtime — Scoring: 11, FIN, Pokka (Teravainen, Maatta), 0:41 (pp).
Goalie Summary (saves/shots)
Anthony Stolarz (USA) — 15/16
Thatcher Demko (USA) — 14/19
Juuse Saros (FIN) — 20/25
In what was a pretty sloppy contest overall, the U.S. forwards showed some nice flashes out there.
The top line was made up of Nic Kerdiles and Riley Barber centered by Danny O’Regan, which was easily the most threatening group consistently for USA Blue. O’Regan scored twice and both Kerdiles and Barber were doing a nice job creating. Both had terrific primary assists off crisp passing.
Connor Carrick was probably Team USA’s best defenseman in the game. He was sound in his own end mostly and did a nice job of jumping into plays offensively. I think he’s angling for a spot as a sixth or seventh defenseman and he showed why he might be a worthy option.
Anthony Stolarz allowed just one goal, but was a bit shaky in the contest. I thought he did OK, but the rebound control was an issue. He was also pretty wild in his crease, which is a big difference between him and the more fundamentally-sound Gillies. Stolarz still is developing and looks much improved from last year, but he’ll want a better start Tuesday.
Brady Skjei was a little inconsistent throughout the game, but I thought he showed great flashes defensively and was more engaged in the offensive zone as well. He’s big, strong and fast and looks like he’d be a great fit in the top four for this club if he can put everything together at Minnesota this year. The skills are there. As long as the decision-making matures a little, he’s going to be on this team.
To quickly point out… Finland’s top line and top defensive pairing was remarkable yesterday.
Teuvo Teravainen, the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2012 first-rounder, looked to be on another planet from everyone else on the ice. He was creating, using his speed, showing off a good shot and just making plays all over the ice. He was flanked by Artturi Lehkonen and Kasperi Kapanen, who both looked great as well. Lehkonen netted a hat trick in the game, including the late tying goal.
Meanwhile Olli Maatta and Ville Pokka were probably the two best defensemen on the ice all game long. The depth goes south after that top line, but this could be a dangerous unit for the Finns in all situations.
We’ll see how this group fares against Sweden, which is a much better club than the Finns in terms of depth. This U.S. group has the better forwards of the two teams, so they need to prove they can create.
Odds and Ends
— Monday is the last day of split-squad games in camp. The cuts will probably be made by Monday night and either announced then or Tuesday morning. I’m unsure of how many will be made. I’ll have a full breakdown once those become available.
— A bit of bad news out of camp as it was revealed Jimmy Lodge was injured on the first day of practice and was unable to continue. His injury, which was undisclosed by Don Lucia in his post-game remarks (as shared by @coreypronman), may keep him out a few weeks.
Lodge really needed this camp to prove himself. Without something remarkable in the OHL this year, I think his chances are unfortunately going south thanks to his injury. They’ll still watch him, but this camp was going to be a big factor for Lodge I think.
— As always, NHL.com has a camp blog being run by Adam Kimelman. It’s great for quotes and analysis, so check it out here.
— Corey Pronman, as I noted above, is in Lake Placid. He’s giving some great insight into the camp as well as his usual strong player analysis on Twitter. He’ll be filing for ESPN Insider as well.
— I’ll be providing extensive WJC camp coverage the rest of the way with some in-depth analysis of players standing out, or not, in Monday’s action. I also tweet out thoughts as I watch the game, if you care to follow along.
— Don’t forget, the games are available on a pay-per-view basis on FASTHockey.com. I was really pleased with how everything looked for the Sunday game I was able to see, so if you’re starving for hockey, it’s worth your time and money, I think.
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