Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wednesday Evening Post

  • Team USA and Rocco Grimaldi have advanced to the semifinal round of the World Junior Championship where they will take on Canada at 3:00 CST Thursday morning for the right to play for WJC gold. Sweden and Russia will play in Thursday's second semifinal matchup. Grimaldi, who was benched for Monday's preliminary round game against Slovakia, returned to action this morning in the quarterfinal game against the Czech Republic and it will be interesting to see what role he plays in the big rematch with Canada. His combination of speed and puck skill is as good as anyone playing in this tournament, making him an instant offensive threat that could be a difference maker in a big game. 
  • The Team USA U-17 team rolled through World Under-17 Challenge preliminary play, going 4-0 while outscoring its opponents 23-11. UND recruit Chris Wilkie is tied for fourth in tournament scoring with seven points (1G, 6A), and his six assists are tied for the tournament lead. Fellow recruit Austin Poganski scored a pair of goals in prelim play, but his level of play is not reflected in his stat line. His strong play has earned him increased ice time as the tournament has progressed, and he is now seeing time on the second powerplay unit. Team USA will take on Russia tomorrow evening at 6:30 CST in the semifinal round, with the medal games scheduled for Friday. All tournament games can be streamed live and free via FastHockey.
  • Both Team USA and Team Canada rolled through preliminary round play at the Under-18 Women's World Championship. Team USA, featuring North Dakota recruits Amy Menke, Gracen Hirschy, and Alexis Shaw, went 3-0 during the preliminary round and outscored its opponents 25-0. Canada, with recruit Halli Krzyzaniak, also went 3-0, and they outscored their opposition 15-1. Krzyzaniak, a defenseman, is Canada's leading point producer and she is tied for fourth in tournament scoring with six points (2G, 4A) while Menke is tied for 11th with four points (2G, 2A). Hirschy has recorded two assists while Shaw posted a shutout in her one appearance thus far. Team USA next takes to the ice in a semifinal tilt with the Czech Republic Friday, while Canada will face Sweden in Friday's other semifinal. The gold medal game will take place Saturday, and anything outside of a USA-Canada final would be a major, major surprise. For realtime stats and a full schedule, checkout the official tournament website.
  • Former Sioux defenseman Travis Roche and Team Canada defeated Davos (Switzerland) to win the 2012 Spengler Cup. Roche recorded two assists during Canada's four tournament games.
  • Andy Johnson of Bucky's Fifth Quarter issued his WCHA First Half Awards, and his Player of the Year is UND centerman Corban Knight. Danny Kristo, Derek Forbort, Clarke Saunders, and Rocco Grimaldi also received recognition.
  • Brock Nelson of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) is expected to miss the next two weeks after suffering a broken jaw.
  • The second annual USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is scheduled to take place January 23 in Muskegon, Michigan, and a trio of North Dakota recruits received invitations today. Luke Johnson (Lincoln) will take part for the second consecutive season, and he will be joined by Luke Voltin (Des Moines) and Tucker Poolman (Omaha).
  • Recruit Nick Schmaltz sent 2012 out in style by notching a hat trick in Green Bay's (USHL) 6-5 (OT) win over Muskegon on New Year's Eve. He completed the hatty by scoring the overtime game-winner.

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