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The Kids Are Alright

By Harry Thompson, 02/16/18, 1:15PM EST


Collegiate Players Feel Right At Home On U.S. Power Play Unit

GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Troy Terry still remembers the disappointment he felt in not being on the power play at the National Team Development Program. But with teammates like Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk, it was easy to understand why.

After several years of growth and development at the University of Denver, Terry was at the center of the action at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, helping Team USA win a gold medal.

And now to see him playing on the wing with Team USA’s No. 1 power play unit here at the Olympic Winter Games shows just how far the Highlands Ranch, Colo., native has come in his hockey career. 

Terry assisted on Team USA's first power-play goal vs. Slovakia

“Just knowing that I’m playing a huge role on the Olympic team with some great players is crazy to me,” said Terry, who plays an integral role on the power play back home with the Pioneers.

“It’s awesome, but at the same time it’s not something that I can just be happy about. We’re here to win a gold medal and our power play is going to be one of the biggest factors in us doing well.”

If Terry and his fellow collegians are sporting a deer-in-a-headlights look, you wouldn’t know if after watching their performance so far in the tournament. Through two games they have made significant contributions, scoring three of the team’s four goals, including a pair of power-play markers from Ryan Donato in today’s 2-1 win over Slovakia.

“It’s not too big a stage for them,” said team captain Brian Gionta. “There’s not much else you can say about those young kids. They’re very composed and doing a great job.”

Their play is a testament to the hard work that team general manager Jim Johannson put into scouting all of these players. He saw something in each of the four collegiate players named to the team and knew they would mesh well with their more experienced teammates.

“Jimmy said right out of the gate, just look how Terry performed last year at the World Juniors. And Ryan grew up in an NHL locker room because of his father,” head coach Tony Granato said. “Those two guys have been through a lot in their hockey lives and I think that’s helped them get ready for this experience. We thought that would help them coming in, and so far, it has.”

In the weeks leading up to the Games, assistant coach Scott Young watched hours of tape looking to find the right combination of players that would give the U.S. the best chance for success with the man advantage. And early on in the process he decided that Terry and Donato would mesh well with the other players he had already slotted for the first unit.

From James Wisniewski’s booming shot from the point, to Chris Bourque’s offensive creativity to Mark Arcobello’s speed and quickness, this is a unit that is being counted on to create offense, and today they did.

“We have a lot of different weapons and enough skill on our power play that we can hurt you in a lot of different ways,” said Young, who knows a thing or two about playing at this level, having played in three Olympics during his Hall of Fame career. 

“We have plenty of options so I think we’re going to keep teams on their toes.”

For their part, Terry and Donato, along with forward Jordan Greenway, who scored a goal in the opener, and defenseman Will Borgen are sure to benefit from this experience, which will make their already budding NHL careers even brighter.

“It’s hard not to be good when you have such great coaches and veterans to tell you what you’re doing wrong or what you can do better and where to be,” said Donato, the son of Ted Donato, a former NHL player and current head coach of Harvard University. “At the end of the day if they keep telling us where to be and what to do then we’ll do it and hopefully we’ll do it well.”

In their short time together they have left a lasting impression on their teammates and coaching staff, as well as opposing teams. Their skill and poise playing on the biggest stage in the game not only speaks volumes about their futures in the game,  but is a testament to the quality of college hockey today.

“It shows how good college hockey is now. There’s a lot of good players in college hockey,” Terry said. “Greenway, Donato, Borgen and I are going to play big roles on this team and we’re young guys. It just shows that USA Hockey is growing and even at a young age we have players that can make a difference on the biggest stage.”

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2018 U.S. Men's Olympic Schedule

Date Opponent Round Result Venue
Wed., Feb. 14 Slovenia Preliminary OTL, 2-3 Kwandong Hockey Centre
Fri., Feb. 16 Slovakia Preliminary W, 2-1 Gangneung Hockey Centre
Sat., Feb. 17 Olympic Athletes From Russia Preliminary L, 0-4 Gangneung Hockey Centre
Tues., Feb. 20 Slovakia Qualification W, 5-1 Gangneung Hockey Centre
Wed., Feb 21 Czech Republic Quarterfinals SOL, 2-3 Gangneung Hockey Centre

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