NCAA Players Pursue WJC Gold
Semifinals feature 20 current NCAA players, including 18 on the U.S. team.

Ryan Poehling had a hat trick in the overtime loss to Sweden.

In an under-20 tournament, players are young by definition. But St. Cloud State’s Ryan Poehling – a junior with the Huskies and in his second World Junior Championship – qualifies as a veteran.

Poehling shares the tournament lead in scoring and is among 18 current NCAA players hoping to lead the United States National Junior Team to gold as four teams remain in the tournament. The U.S. will face Russia in one semifinal on Friday (4 p.m. ET) before Finland meets Switzerland (7 p.m. ET).

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Poehling is the first player to represent the U.S. during his junior year in college since Al Montoya (Michigan) in 2005 and the first non-goaltender to do so since Mike York (Michigan State) in 1998. Poehling’s experience has certainly shown, as he has compiled five goals and eight points through five games in the tournament.

Other standouts for the U.S. have included Joel Farabee (Boston University), who posted a hat trick against Kazakhstan, Josh Norris (Michigan) and Tyler Madden (Northeastern). Madden’s Husky teammate, Cayden Primeau, has a .933 save percentage through three games.

The defense corps in front of Primeau is made up entirely of NCAA players, led by team captain Mikey Anderson (Minnesota Duluth) and Quinn Hughes (Michigan).

The Americans will face a Russian team that is the lone entry among the semifinalists without any NCAA connections. The other semifinal pits Finland against Switzerland.

Finland is captained by Penn State freshman Aarne Talvitie, while Massachusetts freshman goaltender Filip Lindberg has played one game. Talvitie has two goals and three assists, including setting up the overtime goal that sent Finland past Canada in the quarterfinals.

Switzerland does not feature any current college players, but does have a commit in forward Matthew Verboon, who is headed to Colgate in the fall. Verboon, who plays for the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, has one assist in the tournament.