The roster for Team U.S.A. for this year's IIHF World Championship was revelled back on March 31 as the Americans are looking to defend their title that they won in Fargo, N.D. and Morehead, Minnesota last year. This season's World U18 Championship will be taking place in Minsk and Bobruisk in Belarus from April 13-23. Since the U18 World Championship was started by the IIHF in 1999, the Americans have won this tournament 4 times throughout the event's history.
All the games between the local time in Belarus and the Central Time Zone is 8 hours so it may be a bit difficult to cover some of the games, especially when they play early in the day. Also no Southwest Based players have made the roster for this year's tournament, not even Collin Jacobs of the Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) who's from Coppell, Texas made it.
My Analysis: Despite the weak season the USNTDP had during the United States Hockey League Regular Season. USA Hockey has for the most part gone with a roster that's heavy on talent from the USNTDP during the entire history of this event since its creation back in 1999. The results speak for themselves as they have gold 4 times in this event's history and has walked out with a medal in 7 of the last 8 years.
For the goaltenders, look for Jack Campbell has a ton of international experience including winning the World Junior Championship earlier this season and last year's U18 World Championship as a backup by playing a couple of games as well.
Defense wise they going with size with 5 of the 7 defense being at 195 pounds or more and a couple of players that are expected to be great puck mover including Adam Clending who had 17 points and a +16, so he's expected to help set up of the top forwards like Matthew Nieto and Austin Czarnik who lead the team this season with 29 and 28 points, even though they played just 24 and 26 games during the season. Keep in mind that the U17 & U18 NTDP's play half of the schedule which is a part of the USHL Regular Season.
One forward that's expected to bring the hits is Matthew Rust who's one of the more physical forwards and can make some of the faster teams like Russia and Finland a hard time of opposing defense's to make a run on the team.
Overall, it's going to be much tougher this year with Russia looking for revenge after the U.S.A. ran away with the Final in the 3rd period. Also with teams like Belarus & Latvia looking to impress and avoid relegation, they will be playing their heart's out early on to get in a spot to keep their spot and to play well on home ice.
The Americans will be in the tougher group to start out the tournament as the Americans will play Canada who almost knocked out the Americans in the Semifinals last year. Also the Swedes are looking to get back it in after finishing 5th last year. Rounding out the Group is Switzerland and Tournament Host Belarus.
I expect the Americans to win a Medal again, but with the Americans winning gold 3 times in recent years, the opposition will be eager to knock them off. I don't have the feeling that the Americans will defend the Gold again this year. I think a team like Canada or Russia will edge them out this year.
Group B will be headed by Russia and Finland as the Silver & Bronze Medalist from last year. Joining them will be the Czech Republic and Slovakia who will be looking to avoid the relegation Round. Rounding them out will be Latvia who fought off a tough challenge from Austria and Denmark to win promotion last year.
Here's a look at the roster and schedule plus the team press release from USA Hockey.
From the USA Hockey Website: http://www.usahockey.com/
From Ann Arbor, Michigan: USA Hockey today announced the 22 man roster for its 2010 U.S. Men's National U18 Team that will compete at the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation World Men's U18 Championship from April 13-23 in Minsk and Bobruisk, Belarus.
Highlighting the roster are five returnees from the National Under 18 Team that captured Gold at the 2009 IIHF World Men's U18 World Championship in Fargo, N.D. and Moorhead. Minn. Goaltender Jack Campbell (Port Huron, Michigan), who was named to the Media All Star Team at last year's event, will return between the pipes. Defensemen Adam Clendening (Niagara Falls, NY) and Jon Merrill (Brighton, Michigan) and forwards Matthew Nieto (Long Beach, California) and Jason Zucker (Las Vegas, Nevada) will also be competing in their 2nd IIHF World Men's U-18 Championship.
In addition, Campbell and Zucker were also part of the U.S. National Junior Team that won the Gold Medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championships in Saskatoon and Regina in Saskatchewan in January.
Team U.S.A. will carry seven defensemen at the 2010 IIHF World Men's U18 Championship including clendening, Justin Faulk (South St. Paul, Minnesota), Derek Forbort (Duluth, Minnesota) Stephen Jones (Wampum, Pennsylvania), Merrill, Frankie Simonelli (Bensenville, Illinois) and Jarred Tinordi (Millersville, Maryland).
Nieto and Zucker highlighted the group of 13 forwards, which also included Bill Arnold (Needham, Mass.) Chase Bailey (Fullerton, California) Tyler Biggs (Cincinnati, Ohio) Connor Brickly (Everett, Mass.) Austin Czarnik (Washington, Michigan) Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, California) Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley, Arizona), Bryan Rust (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan) Brandon Saad (Gibsonia, PA), Nick Shore (Denver, Colorado) and Austin Watson (Ann Arbor, Michigan).
Team USA will be backstopped by goaltenders Campbell and Andy Iiles (Ithaca, NY).
The U.S.A. Men's National U18 Team will open the tournament play against the Sweden on April 13 at Bobruisk Arena at 7:00 PM Local Time (11 AM CDT). Team U.S.A. Full Schedule can be found below.
Team U.S.A. Notes: The U.S.A. Men's National U18 Team will be lead by head coach Kurt Kleinendorst, who will be participating in his first IIHF World Men's U18 Championship. John Wroblewski, Tam Taylor, Joe Exter and Cole Bassett will serve as assistant coaches for Team U.S.A. Twenty of the 22 players on Team U.S.A.'s roster come from USA Hockey's National Team Developmental Program based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Connor Brickley plays for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League, while Austin Waston plays for the Peterborough Petes (OHL). The Roster includes 20 players born in 1992 and two from the 1993 birth year. Forward Tyler Briggs, born April 30, 1993 is the U.S.A.'s youngest player while goaltender Jack Campbell, born Jan. 9, 1992 is the oldest. Biggs and Rocco Grimaldi were part of the U.S.A National U-17 Team that captured the 2010 U-17 World Hockey Challenge title in Timmins, Ontario, in January. The United States captured medals at a record 6 straight IIHF Men's U18 World Championship (Gold in 2005, 2006, 2009 Silver in 2004 and 2007 Bronze in 2008). Additionally, no other country has more gold medals then Team U.S.A. since the IIHF World Men's U-18 World Championship was created in 1999. In addition to the United States, the tournament includes Tournament Host Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Latvia, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Sweden and Switzerland. Team U.S.A. will play two pre-tournament games against Belarus and Slovakia in Bobruisk and Soligorsk, Belarus.
Here's a look at the Tournament Groups and Team U.S.A. Pre Tournament and Group Stage Schedule.
Group A in Bobruinsk: U.S.A., Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belarus
Group B in Minsk: Russia, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia
Team U.S.A. Pre-Tournament and Group Stage Schedule (All Game Times are Local Time and CDT)
4/8: VS. Belarus 6:00 PM/10:00 AM @ Soligorsk*
4/10: VS. Slovakia 5:00 PM/9:00 AM @ Bobruisk*
4/13: VS. Sweden 7:00 PM/11:00 AM @ Bobruisk
4/14: VS. Switzerland 3:30 PM/7:30 AM @ Bobruisk
4/16: VS. Canada 7:00 PM/11:00 AM @ Bobruisk
4/18: VS. Belarus 7:00 PM/11:00 AM @ Bobruisk
*Pre Tournament Games
Team U.S.A. Roster
1. Jack Campbell 6'2" 185 1/9/92 Port Huron, Michigan USNTDP U18
29. Andy Iles 5'8" 179 1/30/92 Ithaca, N.Y. USNTDP U18
5. Adam Clendening 5'11" 190 10/26/92 Niagara Falls, N.Y. USNTDP U18
27. Justin Faulk 5'11" 193 3/20/92 South St. Paul, Minn. USNTDP U18
3. Derek Forbot 6'4" 195 3/4/92 Duluth, Minn. USNTDP U18
28. Stephen Johns 6'3" 215 4/18/92 Wampum, PA. USNTDP U18
15. John Merill 6'3" 200 2/3/92 Brighton, Michigan USNTDP U18
17. Frankie Simonelli 5'10" 187 10/29/92 Bensenville, Ill. USNTDP U18
24. Jarred Tinordi 6'5" 202 2/20/92 Millersville, MD USNTDP U18
10. Bill Arnold 5'11" 217 5/13/92 Needham, Mass. USNTDP U18
13. Chase Balisey 5'10" 170 2/2/92 Fullerton, Calif. USNTDP U18
4. Tyler Biggs 6'2" 202 4/30/93 Cincinnati, Ohio USNTDP U17
20. Connor Brickley 6'2" 195 2/25/92 Everett, Mass. Des Moines, Buccaneers (USHL)
18. Austin Czarnik 5'7" 155 12/12/92 Washingon, Mich. USNTDP U18
21. Rocco Grimaldi 5'6" 157 2/8/92 Rossmoor, Calif. USNTDP U17
7. Luke Moffatt 6'0" 179 6/11/92 Paradise Valley, Ariz. USNTDP U18
19. Matthew Nieto 5'11" 191 11/5/92 Long Beach, Calif. USNTDP U18
12. Bryan Rust 5'11" 191 5/11/92 Bloomfield Hills, Mich. USNTDP U18
22. Brandon Saad 6'1" 196 10/27/92 Gibsonia, PA. USNTDP U18
23. Nick Shore 6'0" 186 9/26/92 Denver, Colo. USNTDP U18
14. Austin Watson 6'3" 171 1/13/92 Ann Arbor, Mich. Peterborough Pets (OHL)
16. Jason Zucker 5'10" 168 1/16/92 Las Vegas, Nev. USNTDP U18
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