CHN Staff Report
Team USA today set its 22-man roster for the upcoming World Junior Championships.
The team, which will be coached for a third straight season by Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais, will participate Dec. 26-Jan. 2 at the tournament, which this year takes place in Alberta, Canada.
The U.S. is coming off back-to-back medals for the first time in the tournament’s history, including a gold in 2010 and bronze last year.
Fourteen of the 22 players are currently in U.S. colleges, as is the emergency third goaltender, Cornell’s Andy Iles.
Goalie Jack Campbell and Denver forward Jason Zucker are the only members of the team who also were on the gold-medal winning team.
Campbell and John Gibson are the goaltenders. They share the distinction of each having committed to play for Michigan, only to bail out on that commitment the summer prior to the time they were supposed to enroll.
The defense includes Adam Clendening (Boston University), Derek Forbort (North Dakota), Kevin Gravel (St. Cloud State), Stephen Johns (Notre Dame) and Jon Merrill (Michigan). Merrill made the team despite not having played a game this season with Michigan, because of an ongoing suspension. Forbort and Merrill are the only ones back from last year’s team.
The other two defenseman are Jarred Tinordi of the OHL’s London Knights, and 17-year old Jacob Trouba, who is committed to Michigan. The 6-foot-7 Tinordi was at one time committed to play at Notre Dame. Seth Jones was a 17-year old that appeared set to make the team, but he got hurt Wednesday in the team’s final exhibition game, leaving room for Trouba. Former Minnesota-Duluth defenseman Justin Faulk was a candidate as well, but the Carolina Hurricanes did not grant his release.
Up front, nine of the 13 forwards are currently in college, and three of the nine played on last year’s team — Nick Bjugstad (Minnesota), Charlie Coyle (BU) and Zucker. Bjugstad was hurt a couple of weeks ago, but is well enough to play. Coyle recently left BU to sign with Saint John of the Quebec Major Junior League. The other returner is Emerson Etem, and Long Beach, Calif., native who plays for Medicine Hat in the WHL.
Other college players to make it were Josh Archibald (Nebraska-Omaha), Bill Arnold (Boston College), Connor Brickley (Vermont), Austin Czarnik (Miami), Kyle Rau (Minnesota) and T.J. Tynan (Notre Dame). Rau and Czarnik made it despite not being on Team USA’s summer camp invite list. They edged out the likes of John Gaudreau (BC) and Brian Ferlin (Cornell).
Major junior players Brandon Saad, J.T. Miller and Austin Watson are also on the list. Miller was set to go to North Dakota before bailing out of his commitment late in the summer.