With only a few days to go until the start of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, the United States’ preparations are in full swing. The U.S., who will play in Group B in Piešťany, have finalised their roster which looks on paper to be a medal contender. The roster features five players from the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and six from the United States Hockey League (USHL).
Starting off in goal for the United States is the tandem of Alex Nedeljkovic and Blake Weyrick. Nedeljkovic impressed as a rookie for the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL, playing in 28 regular season games, before leading his team in the playoffs, making 15 starts. Weyrick spent his season with the USNTDP program, making seven starts in the USHL. To his credit, Weyrick was the third goaltender for the United States on their silver medal IIHF World Under-18 Championship team in Sochi in April 2013.
Size is the name of the game for the United States on the blue line as four of the defencemen stand over 6’3’’ tall, with Robert Nardella being the only member of the team under 6’0’’. Leading the charge on defence is Aaron Haydon of the Niagara Ice Dogs in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). The Plymouth, Michigan native impressed in his debut season with Niagara, making 42 appearances in the regular season and a further three in the playoffs. Jack Dougherty and the aforementioned Robert Nardella were part of the gold medal winning U.S. side at the 2012 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament, and they will lace up for the United States at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.
Kyle Connor, Joey Dudek and Austin Poganski were also part of this side, and will form a key part of the forward line-up for the United States. Another who will be heavily relied on is Dominic Turgeon, son of former NHLer Pierre Turgeon. Dominic is one of the most highly touted forward prospects for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, and was part of the Portland Winterhawks side who went on to become Western Hockey League (WHL) Champions in 2013. Also part of this squad were forwards Keegan Iverson and Paul Bittner, with the later picking up an impressive 23 points in 45 games in his debut season at Major Junior level.
Head coach Bob Corkum has assembled a strong looking side which will be looking to seize the initiative as they open their Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup campaign against Finland in Game 1 at 14:00 CET in Piešťany.
#1 Alex Nedeljkovic (born: 07.01.96, Plymouth Whalers, OHL)
#30 Blake Weyrick (born: 02.02.96, USNTDP, USHL)
#2 Brandon Carlo (born: 26.11.96, Colorado Thunderbirds U16)
#3 Jack Dougherty (born: 25.05.96, St. Thomas Academy, Minnesota)
#4 Aaron Haydon (born: 06.01.96, Niagara Ice Dogs, OHL)
#5 Ryan Mantha (born: 18.06.96, Sioux City Musketeers, USHL)
#6 Robert Nardella (born: 22.04.96, Chicago Mission U16, Illinois)
#7 Jerad Rosburg (born: 18.06.96, Ohio Blue Jackets U16)
#8 Nick Wolff (born: 21.07.96, Eagan High School, Minnesota)
#9 Paul Bittner (born: 04.11.96, Portland Winterhawks, WHL)
#10 Kyle Connor (born: 09.12.96, Youngstown Phantoms, USHL)
#11 Joey Dudek (born: 29.01.96, Kimball Union Academy)
#12 Keegan Iverson (born: 05.04.96, Portland Winterhawks, WHL)
#14 Dylan Malmquist (born: 18.08.96, Edina High School, Minnesota)
#15 Cody Milan (born: 11.04.96, Sioux Falls Stampede, USHL)
#16 Chase Phelps (born: 26.04.96, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, Minnesota)
#17 Austin Poganski (born: 16.02.96, St. Cloud Cathedral High School, Minnesota)
#18 Nick Schmaltz (born: 23.02.96, Green Bay Gamblers, USHL)
#19 Joseph Snively (born: 01.01.96, Sioux City Musketeers, USHL)
#20 Dominic Turgeon (born: 25.02.96, Portland Winterhawks, WHL)
#21 Ryan Wagner (born: 15.04.96, Chicago Mission U16, Illinois)
#22 Jake Wahlin (born 09.11.96, White Bear Lake High School, Minnesota)