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GAMEDAY: U.S. Ready for World Junior A Challenge Opener

By USA Hockey, 12/09/18, 11:00AM EST


U.S. and Canada West collide at 7 p.m. MT in Bonnyville

The United States Junior Select Team opens play at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge tonight at 7 p.m. MT (9 p.m. ET) against Canada West. HockeyTV will provide live streaming of the game from R.J. Lalonde Arena in Bonnyville, Alberta, Canada.

Tonight’s Opponent: Canada West
Team USA is 1-2 (W-L) in its last three meetings with Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge. In 2017, the teams met in preliminary-round play with the U.S. winning, 2-1. The teams would meet again in the first-place game with Canada West defeating Team USA, 5-1.

Team USA has finished in the top three at the World Junior A Challenge 10 times in the past 10 years, while Canada West has finished in the top three in seven of the last 10. 

The U.S. has won four of the last six World Junior A Challenges, with Canada West taking first place in 2017.

2018 WJAC

WJAC History

Exhibition Recap
Team USA competed in one exhibition game prior to the 2018 World Junior A Challenge, a 3-1 victory over Canada East on Friday in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada. Robert Mastrosimone (East Islip, N.Y.) led the way for the U.S. with two points (1G, 1A). In all, seven players recorded points for the U.S.

Noreen Leading the Charge
Anthony Noreen (Kearney, Neb.) is the head coach of the 2018 U.S. Junior Select Team after serving as an assistant coach at the 2013 and 2017 World Junior A Challenge. In 2017, he helped lead the U.S. Junior Select Team as assistant coach to a second-place finish. Prior to that, Noreen served as an assistant coach with the 2013 team that took home first place for the second consecutive year at the World Junior A Challenge. Noreen, who is head coach of the United States Hockey League's Tri-City Storm is joined on the U.S. coaching staff by assistant coaches Mark Abalan (Sioux City, Iowa), Shane Fukushima (Waterloo, Iowa) and David Wilkie (Omaha, Neb.). Marc Boxer (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Hockey's director of junior hockey, is serving as general manager.

International Experience

The 22-player roster includes 10 players who have skated for the U.S. internationally. Of those 10 players, nine have skated on U.S. Select Teams, including seven skaters who helped lead the U.S. to first-place finishes at the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Plano, Texas, in 2016 and Ostrava, Czech Republic, in 2017. Moreover, Trevor Janicke (Maple Grove, Minn./Central Illinois Flying Aces) was a member of the 2018 U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team that earned a silver medal at the IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship last April in Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk, Russia.

More Big Stages

Along with international experience, eight players have competed in the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, an annual event featuring the top American players eligible for the NHL Draft. Ethan Frisch (Moorhead, Minn./Green Bay Gamblers), Janicke, Zac Jones (Glen Allen, Va./Tri-City Storm), Robert Mastrosimone (East Islip, N.Y./Chicago Steel), Shane Pinto (Franklin Square, N.Y./Lincoln Stars), Isaiah Saville (Anchorage, Alaska/Tri-City Storm), and Grant Silianoff (Edina, Minn./Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) all participated in the 2018 event. Furthermore, Ryan O'Reilly (Southlake, Texas/Fargo Force) played in the 2017 event before bring drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the fourth round, 98th overall, at the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas, Texas.

Date Opponent Venue Location Time (Local/ET)/Result Streaming Coverage
Fri., Dec. 7 Canada East* Cold Lake Energy Centre Cold Lake, Alta. W, 3-1 HockeyTV
Sun., Dec. 9 Canada West R.J. Lalonde Arena Bonnyville, Alta. SOL, 1-2 HockeyTV
Tues., Dec. 11 Czech Republic R.J. Lalonde Arena Bonnyville, Alta. W, 4-2 HockeyTV
Wed., Dec. 12 Canada East R.J. Lalonde Arena Bonnyville, Alta. W, 7-3 HockeyTV
Fri., Dec. 14 Russia R.J. Lalonde Arena Bonnyville, Alta. L, 3-4 HockeyTV
Sat., Dec. 15 Canada West (Semifinal) R.J. Lalonde Arena Bonnyville, Alta. OTW, 3-2 HockeyTV
Sun., Dec. 16 Russia (Championship) R.J. Lalonde Arena Bonnyville, Alta. W, 2-0 --