Jordan Schroeder has played on three U.S. teams in the World Junior Championships. His first two finished a disappointing fourth and fifth.
This one beat Canada 6-5 in overtime on Tuesday in the gold-medal game.
How did that feel? It was a great feeling, a sense of accomplishment.
Why did this team win the title? It was the character on the team. We had a good mix of guys, good chemistry, We were pretty close, all together. Guys understood what their roles were on the team. We were confident with each other and we relied on each other. It worked out.
What was your role? Definitely to be a leader out there, work hard every shift, creating scoring chances and being tall defensively. (Schroeder was the center on the second line.)
Have your bags and hockey gear arrived yet from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan? I made it back [Wednesday] night, But my bags weren’t coming in until a really late flight, so they had to ship them to me, We had to push [Gophers] practice back so I can skate. ..[My teammates] got to sleep in a little more,
(Practice was at 1 p.m. instead of 11 a.m.]
Are you tired after playing seven games in the World Juniors? I actually feel pretty good. I haven’t really had a break, The longer break you take, the harder it is to come back right away. It might have an effect on the second game [this weekend]. Just the long journey up there [and back]. For most part, I feel really good and in game shape so I’m ready to go.
On probably being paired with 5-7 1/2, 165-pound Jacob Cepis on the first line? It's kind of weird. Usually I am the smallest guy out there, but he makes up for it with his feistiness, and his tenacity. He will definitely help this team out.
On his slow start as a Gopher (4-8-12) this season? It has been more of a challenge, but that's part of being a hockey palyer, adversity. After going to the World Juniors and realizing some things, I'm taking my game to the next level. I will be a lot better the second half.
On advice Don Lucia has given you since your return? Keep playing your game like you were at the World Juniors at a 100 percent. Do not try to slow your game down like you usually do. Keep moving your feet and attacking the net.
What has Vancouver, which drafted you in the first round, suggest: Just getting to net, being hard to play against. Just being a pest, not taking stupid penalties or going out of your way to hit guys.
What's the origin of the song/chant the U.S. sang in the locker room after the upset victory over Canada (it's a YouTube hit): It all started out [with the U.S national development team[ in Ann Arbor with our '90 group [players born in 1990]. Our boxing coach -- when we were out there, we’d have off-ice boxing and we would do a lot of core things. He taught us how to box and while we were running around, he sang the main parts of that song to us and we would have to repeat it back.
We kind of fixed some of the parts in there. We’ve done it since.
(But the U.S team sang it only once at World Juniors, after being Canada]. Just a celebratory thing. It was one of the best feelings in the world, especially winning the gold medal on that kind of stage. You can’t ask for anything bigger than that.
On scoring the second goal against Canada: We had a 2-1 in front of the net and I didn’t hesitate, I knew I was going to shoot the whole time, and I caught the goalie a little bit leaning to the right. The outside was open and I just put it out there. It was pretty cool, especially in the gold medal game. You know you are helping your team out a lot.
On being stopped in the shootout in a 5-4 loss to Canada in the preliminary round: It was disappointing, being the last guy to shoot and having to score to tie. [Canada was ahead 3-2 in the shootout, when Schroeder's turn came. Nobody had missed yet.] There is a little pressure. I had a move in my head that I wanted to do and I did it on a breakway in the game that scored and so I thought I could freeze [their goalie] on it again. He beat me to it. But it was just a round robin, the tournament really started when we played in the quarterfinals and we moved on [after the shootout loss]. ... We won the one [game with Canada] that really counts.
On returning to Gophers? It definitely feels good to home. I am definitely on a really high right now -- that gold medal. I have a lot of confidence and hope I can keep that going.
What question have your teammates asked the most? They haven't asked questions. They just congratulated me. They are real happy. They all watched [the World Juniors].
How big was this tournament in Canada? It's unbelievable how into the game their fans are. Everyone on the street recognizes you. They are always coming up, asking for autoographs, say congratulations afterward. I signed a couple hundred autographs at least. It is hockey country, that is their main sport up there and they love it.
I will try to bring some of the lessons I learned up there down here.