Big day for World Juniors team candidates coming up

  • Blog Post by: $author
  • December 3, 2012 - 5:01 AM

Back in August, Gophers sophomore center Travis Boyd and freshmen defensemen Mike Reilly and Brady Skjei participated in the national junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid, N.Y.

There were 45 players there at the start and halfway through, some were sent home. But the three Gophers were not and on Tuesday morning -- about 9 a.m. -- USA Hockey will announce its preliminary roster for the U.S. team competing in the World Junior Championships from Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia.

The team will be coached by Phil Housley, the Stillwater boys' hockey coach and former NHL star defenseman. Gophers assistant coach Grant Potulny will be one of his assistants. So Potulny is going to Russia for sure.

Probably with one, two, maybe three of the U's players.

The U.S. team will hold a camp at Madison Square Garden from Dec. 16-18, then fly to Helsinki for more training from Dec. 19-23 at the end of which final cuts will be made to 23 players.

Those picking the U.S. team will undoubtedly look at how players did at Lake Placid and how they are doing now for their present teams. Here is a look at the three Gophers' progress:

* Boyd ... Gophers third line center. He has three goals -- all on the power play -- and six assists for nine points -- tied for seventh on team -- in 15 games. ... He is a plus-2, two minor penalties.

* Reilly ... He has one goal and seven assists for eight points in 15 games. ... He is a plus-4, 12 blocks.

* Skjei ... He has one goal and one assists for two points in 14 games. ... He is a minus-1, five blocks.


* The U.S. team will be a group with Canada, Russia, the host team, Germany and Slovakia. At least two tough opponents in that group. The preliminary roster for Sweden for the World Juniors is here.

 * Notre Dame freshmen forwards Mario Lucia and Steve Fogarty also were at the junior evaluation camp. Lucia, Don's son, played well there but then suffered a broken leg and only  rejoined the Irish about a month ago. Housley and the other U.S. folks who decide on the team will have to weigh how Lucia will handle the grueling schedule in Russia.

Lucia, who played for Wayzata High School, has four goals and one assists for five points in six games. He is a plus-1.

Fogarty, who played for Edina, has three goals and one assist for four points in 15 games. He is a minus-2.

Lucia and Fogarty were teammates last season at Penticton, which won the Junior A national title in Canada.

The Irish are 11-4, 7-1 in the CCHA and play the Gophers on Jan. 8 at Mariucci.


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