The 44 players at camp and all of the staff arrived in Plymouth, Michigan on Thursday night to get settled in for the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase. After they dropped off their stuff at the locker room, the team had dinner and then a brief meeting where they were introduced to the coaching staff. The team also re-introduced themselves, before head coach Scott Sandelin and GM of the U.S. National Junior Team John Vanbiesbrouck told the guys what they were looking for in this camp.
After a good night's rest, the players got on the ice together for the first time. For the first few days of camps, the U.S. squad will be split into a white and blue roster. The blue team took the ice first, followed by the white team. The teams ran through a series of breakout drills, flow drills and some special teams before getting off and grabbing some lunch in preparation for a full squad practice/scrimmage at night.
In the first competition of the showcase, USA Blue faced off against USA White. The two teams played two periods of five-on-five before an ice cut. After the cut, each team worked on special teams. In a situation where the team does not have a lot of time playing together before competing against other teams, it is important to work on systems early and often.
After the first two even strength frames, neither team found the back of the net as the goaltending of Spencer Knight, Isaiah Saville, Drew DeRidder and Dustin Wolf played solid. There was a lot of back-and-forth flow.
Following that was an alternating power play for each side. After five minutes, the teams switched up who was on the power play and who was on the penalty kill. Blue nearly found the back of the net at the last second, but were unable to.
It went to a shootout, where white was able to get a Trevor Zegras clinching goal before the teams shook hands and headed off the ice in preparation for tomorrow's games.
It was the last day of hockey camp for some youngsters at USA Hockey Arena. What better way to finish off your camp than by watching some of practice? The kids knew who the players were, and cheered for everything that was going on.