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World Juniors Notebook

By USA Hockey.com, 12/27/14, 6:00PM EST

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Saturday, December 27 – Montreal
Day 13

MIKE RICHTER VISITS USA LOCKERROOM
Mike Richter
, a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and one of the finest netminders in the country’s history, visited the U.S. lockerroom following last night’s 2-1 shootout victory over Finland. Richter helped the U.S. win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and was named the tournament’s MVP. He also led the New York Rangers to the 1994 Stanley Cup.

PRACTICE TODAY
The U.S. practiced today at Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, a facility that includes two ice sheets and is located about 20 minutes from the Bell Centre. The BSC serves as the practice facility of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. The U.S. got dressed for practice at the Bell Centre and then bussed to Brossard for its 12 p.m. ice time. After the hour-long session, the team returned back on the bus to change and then return to the hotel for lunch.

LUNCH WITH CONSULATE STAFF
Nina Maria Fite, the U.S. consul general in Montreal joined Team USA for lunch today following its practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. Scott Bocksel, assistant attaché for U.S. immigration and customs enforcement, and his wife Maria accompanied Fite. Fite, who grew up a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, spoke briefly to the players and staff and welcomed them to Montreal. She was presented a USA Hockey wimple by Jack Eichel, captain of Team USA, who thanked her for taking the time to stop by and meet the team.

JOTTINGS
Steven Santini
, who played on the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team and was judged not ready to return to action after having a cast removed from his wrist on Dec. 22, is still with Team USA at least through Dec. 31 … Gavin Regan, vice president of USA Hockey and chair of the organization’s international council, arrived today in Montreal and will be at tomorrow’s game … Defenseman Will Butcher blocked a Finland shot that was headed for an empty net as time was about to expire in overtime in last night’s 2-1 shootout victory … Team USA will play tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET against Germany and then have to come back the following day for a 4 p.m. tilt with Slovakia.

Thursday, December 25 -- 7:00 p.m. ET -- Montreal
DAY 11

ROSTER FINALIZED
U.S. general manager Jim Johannson finalized the roster for the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team this afternoon by releasing defenseman Steven Santini. A current member of the Boston College men's ice hockey team and also a member of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team, Santini has not played since Oct. 25 due to a wrist injury. He had the cast removed from his wrist on Monday (Dec. 22). "We wanted to see where Steve was after he had the cast removed and it's clear he needs more time before he's ready to play," said Johannson. The final U.S. roster includes three goaltenders, seven defensemen and 13 forwards.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Team USA was the first team to practice at the Bell Centre today. First order of business once on the ice was the team photo, which took just a few minutes of the 75-minute ice slot that began at 9:30 a.m. The U.S. opens play in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET against defending champion Finland. The game will be televised live in the U.S. on NHL Network and also streamed live on NHL.com. Team USA ventured out to the movies this afternoon to see Unbroken.

LAST NIGHT
The Christmas eve festivities began with the 24 players split into three groups and a team-building exercise in the team room at the hotel in Montreal. After, the group enjoyed a Christmas eve meal together, followed by a gift exchange. The evening concluded with a number of the staff and players attending mass at St. Patrick's Basilica in downtown Montreal. The approximately 1,500 in attendance welcomed the U.S. team, including Coach Mark Osiecki and captain Jack Eichel, with warm applause at the beginning of mass.

Wednesday, December 24 -- 5:15 p.m. ET -- Montreal
DAY 10

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE
Team USA did not skate today. After brunch, the squad left Kingston via charter bus for Montreal and arrived here just after 3 o'clock. The team will have a meal together tonight, a gift exchange, a visit from Santa and church service.

BEN SMITH
Ben Smith, who as head coach led the 1998 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team to the gold medal, has been involved assisting GM Jim Johannson in the overall player evaluation for the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team. He is with the team in Montreal. Smith was the head coach of three U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Teams (1998, 2002, 2006) and also an assistant coach with the 1988 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team.

IN THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT ON TWITTER
A recent tweet from Brandon Halverson, one of three netminders on the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team ... "I love Christmas time. Happy holidays everyone."

JOTTINGS
Team USA has medaled in three of the last five IIHF World Junior Championships ... The average age of Team USA is 18 years, five months ... Jack Eichel is the first 18-year-old captain of a U.S. National Junior Team since Bryan Berard in 1996 ... The U.S. will take their official team photo tomorrow morning at the Bell Centre at the beginning of practice.

Tuesday, December 23 -- 12:20 p.m. ET -- Kingston, Ontario

DAY 9

SANTINI BACK
Defenseman Steven Santini arrived in Kingston late last night and skated this morning with the team. He had the cast removed from his wrist yesterday and has been medically cleared to participate. Santini last played a game on Oct. 25. He will not play tonight.

GAME DAY
The 26 players vying for a spot on the final 2015 U.S. National Junior Team roster went through a light morning skate in preparation for tonight's final pre-tournament game against Sweden. Opening faceoff is set for 7 o'clock at the Rogers K-Rock Centre. The game will be streamed live on FASTHockey.com. The U.S. could name its final roster for the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship in the next 24 hours.

CAPTAINS NAMED
The U.S. named forward Jack Eichel captain of the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team this morning with defenseman Will Butcher and forward John Hayden as alternate captains.

LINEUP TONIGHT
Forwards
Bracco-Eichel-Tuch
Milano-Matthews-Schmatlz
Motte-Larkin-Fasching
Wood-Compher-Hayden
De Leo

Defense
Butcher-Carlo
Hanifin-McCoshen
Werenski-DeAngelo
Collins

Goaltenders
Demko
Halverson

Monday, December 22 -- 10:15 a.m. ET -- Kingston, Ontario

DAY 8

CANDIDATE POOL TRIMMED BY ONE
The pool of candidates vying to make the final 2015 U.S. National Junior Team roster was trimmed by one this morning with the release of defenseman Mike Downing. The final roster can include 20 forwards and defensemen and up to three goaltenders.

TIDBITS
The U.S. will skate for approximately an hour this morning here in preparation for its final pre-tournament game tomorrow night against Sweden. Game time is 7 p.m. ET and the contest will be streamed live by FASTHockey.com ... Practice combinations for today include: Forwards: Bracco-Eichel-Tuch; Milano-Matthews-Schmaltz; Motte-Larkin-Fasching; Wood-Compher-Hayden; De Leo-Cassels-Louis; Defense: Butcher-Carlo; Hanifin-McCoshen; Werenski-DeAngelo; Collins ... Defensemen Steven Santini, who was part of the U.S. camp in Boston but has not been with the team in Kingston as of yet, will re-join the group late tonight. He is expected to be cleared to play by doctors later today after a wrist injury has sidelined him since Oct. 25.

Sunday, December 21 -- 9:45 a.m. ET -- Kingston, Ontario

DAY 7
A pre-tournament game against Germany is on tap tonight for the 27 candidates left vying for a spot on the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team. A pre-game skate is on the schedule this morning. The lineup for tonight's game is below:

Forwards
Schmaltz-Matthews-Hayden
Motte-Larkin-Fasching
De Leo-Compher-Louis
Wood-Cassels-Bracco

Defense
Butcher-DeAngelo
Hanifin-McCoshen
Werenski-Carlo
Downing-Collins

Goaltenders
Demko
Nedeljkovic

Scratches
Eichel
Milano
Santini
Tuch
Halverson

THE RIDE FROM BOSTON
The bus ride from Boston to Kingston yesterday included three full movies --  Lone Survivor, We're the Millers, and When the Game Stands Tall; and the first hour of Austin Powers. The trip, which took about nine hours in all, was broken up by lunch at Joey's in Utica, New York, and a 30-minute stop at the border crossing.

Saturday, December 20 -- 9:45 a.m. ET

ON THE ROAD
The journey for the remaining 27 candidates (forwards Adam Erne and Michael McCarron and defenseman Jack Dougherty were released after last night's game against Boston University) vying to make the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team continues today with a seven-hour bus trip that will end in Kingston, Ontario, tonight about 6 o'clock. The U.S. camp will continue there through mid-day on Dec. 24, before the team heads to Montreal for the start of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship on Dec. 26. The bus ride today is slated to include a few movies and a stop in Utica, New York, for lunch. The team will not practice today.
 

Friday, December 19 -- 10 a.m. ET -- Boston

U.S. lineup for tonight's game vs. Boston University

Forwards
Motte-Eichel-Tuch
Schmaltz-Compher-Bracco
Milano-De Leo-Louis
Erne-Cassels-McCarron
Wood

Defense
Downing-Collins
Butcher-DeAngelo
Hanifin-Carlo
Dougherty

Goal
Halverson
Nedeljkovic

Scratches
McCoshen
Butcher
Hayden
Larkin
Fasching
Werenski
Demko
Matthews

Brandon Halverson will start in goal tonight for the U.S. in its game against Boston University. He is expected to play the first half of the contest with Alex Nedeljkovic playing the second half of the game.

PETER PAN
The U.S. is using Peter Pan bus lines and has “Wendy’s White Dress” as its bus for this week here in Boston. Driver, Lucky, who has been with the group since its arrival in Boston on Monday, will also drive the U.S. to Kingston, Ontario, tomorrow morning. The journey is expected to take approximately seven hours. The U.S. will be based in Kingston through the morning of Dec. 24 as it continues preparations for the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

DR. PHIL
Dr. Phil Johnson, from Fargo, North Dakota, arrived late last night and will be with Team USA throughout the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. Dr. Johnson has been the team doctor for 11 previous U.S. National Junior Teams.

AT THE PAHK
Mike Eruzione, captain of the famed 1980 U.S. Miracle on Ice team, emphasized the importance of “respect” when he spoke to candidates for the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team at a dinner last night at Fenway Park. “Respect yourself, respect your teammates and respect your opponent,” Eruzione told the 30 players listening.

Thursday, December 18 -- 9 a.m. ET -- Boston

With just two days left for players to showcase their talents here in Boston, today’s practice, set for 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET, is without question significant. U.S. coach Mark Osiecki has praised the intensity and pace of practice the first two days and expects similar today. Team USA General Manager Jim Johannson and his team of evaluators, including Ray Shero, Ryan Martin and Ben Smith, will be watching intently. The U.S. is expected to trim its roster following tomorrow night’s game against Boston University.

CAMP OBSERVERS

The first two days of the U.S. National Junior Team Training Camp in Boston has included interested scouts from NHL teams watching from the stands. In addition, appearances have been made by former Boston University men’s ice hockey coach Jack Parker; current BU men’s coach David Quinn; current BU women’s coach Brian Durocher; Massachusetts hockey executive director Kevin Kavanaugh; and 1980 gold medalist Mike Eruzione, to name a few.

DESIGNING A PRACTICE FOR 30

Not often do coaches at the highest levels of hockey set out to design a practice for 30 players, but that is what U.S. National Junior Team Head Coach Mark Osiecki and his staff have been faced with here this week. Osiecki acknowledges the challenge and says the most important thing is to keep players engaged and active. “We have had to go into this week with a little bit different approach than certainly what we’re used to with the number of players on the ice,” said Osiecki.

MEDIA HERE

Some 40 media credentials have been issued for the camp. John “Jocko” Connolly, who is in his 43rd year with the Boston Herald, is the dean of the media contingent gathered.

WALTER BROWN ARENA

The camp is being staged at Walter Brown Arena on the Boston University campus where the U.S. will play BU tomorrow night (Dec. 19) at 7:30 pm. The last BU men’s game to be played at Walter Brown was on Jan. 2, 2005, when Minnesota earned a 2-1 victory. The Terriers opened their current home – Agganis Arena – the next night with a 2-1 victory over the Gophers. Walter Brown Arena is the current home of the BU women’s ice hockey team and also hosts numerous NCAA Division III games and high school contests as well.

WONG BACK AT IT

Stan Wong is back for his 13th straight year as the lead trainer for the U.S. National Junior Team. Wong has also served as a trainer for the last three U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Teams and for six U.S. Men’s National Teams. Wong is loved by players for not only his outstanding medical care, but also his upbeat and jovial nature.

HEADED TO FENWAY

The U.S. National Junior Team will dine at historic Fenway Park tonight. USA Hockey president Ron DeGregorio and 1980 Olympic gold medalist Mike Eruzione will be on hand to address the players and staff.

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