Alums Leading U.S. at Worlds
The United States has excelled at the IIHF World Championship, winning five of its six games heading into its final preliminary round game Tuesday, and it has a group of almost all former NCAA players to thank for it.
In all, 22 of the 25 players on the final roster for the Americans played college hockey, including top scorers Paul Stastny (9 points, Denver), Craig Smith (7 points, Wisconsin) and Justin Faulk (6 points, Minnesota Duluth). All 23 of the Americans' goals have been scored by former NCAA players.
The U.S. has an opportunity to win its group when it faces Slovakia Tuesday at 5:15 a.m. ET. NBC Sports Network will carry the game live, and will cover all U.S. games in the medal round. The U.S. group, which also features Finland and Russia, is being played in Helsinki, Finland.
Team USA has already secured a berth in the quarterfinals, with seeding still to be determined. The quarterfinal games will pit teams against others in their group; the semifinals and medal games will be played in Stockholm, Sweden.
13 Schools Represented
Thirteen schools have alumni on the U.S. roster, led by Michigan (four) and Denver (three). Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota and Wisconsin each have a pair of former players representing the U.S.
Four players spent this season playing college hockey: Hobey Baker Award winner Drew LeBlanc (St. Cloud State), Nick Bjugstad (Minnesota), Danny Kristo (North Dakota) and Jake Trouba (Michigan). That group has fit in well with the rest of the team - made up primarily of NHLers - with each recording at least a point in 10:20 to 14:20 of ice time per game.
The U.S. is led by head coach and former Boston University star Joe Sacco. Tim Army (Providence) and Danton Cole (Michigan State) are assistant coaches on Sacco's staff.
Team USA has won three straight games since a 5-3 setback to Russia on May 7. The Americans' wins have come against Austria, Latvia, Finland, France and Germany.
The U.S. is seeking its first medal at the World Championship since 2004. It hasn't won the World Championship since 1933.
|College Players on U.S. Roster|
|G||Cal Heeter||Ohio State|
|D||Justin Faulk||Minnesota Duluth|
|D||Jeff Petry||Michigan State|
|F||Bobby Butler||New Hampshire|
|F||Ryan Carter||Minnesota State|
|F||Stephen Gionta||Boston College|
|F||Danny Kristo*||North Dakota|
|F||Drew LeBlanc*||St. Cloud State|
|F||T.J. Oshie||North Dakota|
|F||Tim Stapleton||Minnesota Duluth|
|* Played in NCAA this season|