Tuesday, January 25, 2022

US Olympic Hockey Roster Stocked With College Players

College players make up two-thirds of the US Olympic hockey roster for Beijing, a significant increase from 2018 when the NHL also opted not to participate.

USA Hockey on Thursday unveiled its 25-man roster with 15 players from the college picking 2021 No. 2 pick Matty Beniers of the Seattle Kraken and 2020 No. 5 of Jake Sanderson of the Ottawa Senators. Benniers’ Michigan teammate and Vegas Golden Knights 2020 first-round pick Brendan Bryson was also named in the squad.

When Troy Terry, Ryan Donato, Jordan Greenaway and Will Borgen were the only NCAA players on a team made up of mostly old professionals playing in Europe four years ago, America skewered. Donato led America in goals, Terry in assists, Greenway was one of the top all-performers during the tournament and his contribution raised the confidence level to lean on more college players this time.

Scott Young, who returned as an assistant under coach David Quinn, this time said, “It took that hesitation away.” “We weren’t afraid to be young. We weren’t afraid to be young and hungry.”

Including net. Strauss Mann, a recent Michigan graduate who plays in the Swedish Hockey League, is expected to be the starter. He is joined by Drew Comeso of Boston University, who was the goaltender for America at the World Junior Championships, which was canceled over four days.

Sanderson, Beniers and University of Minnesota defenseman Brock Faber are additional World Juniors players named in the squad. Other NCAA players are Nick Abruzzi and Sean Farrell of Harvard, Ben Meyers and Matthew Naise of Minnesota, Nathan Smith of Minnesota State, Noah Cates of Minnesota-Duluth, Mark McLaughlin and Drew Helson of Boston College, and Sam Hentges and Nick of St. Cloud State. There are perbix.

Forwards Brian O’Neill, Kenny Agostino, Andy Milley and Nick Shore and defensemen Steven Kamffer, Aaron Ness and David Warsofsky are American players with NHL experience.

“We have good players everywhere, whether in the NHL or college hockey,” Sanderson said earlier this week. “I’m so excited to play with them, from playing (many) against them in college. We just have to go out there, give our best and hope for the best.”

USA Hockey officials and coaches knew they needed some older players to handle the tournament, which begins on February 9 and runs through February 20. The US opens against China on February 10.

“We think we have enough strength and enough men to balance it out,” Young said. “You don’t want to go too much in one direction by any means, but we think we’re going to be faster, we think we’re going to be able to put the pressure on the teams and play really fast and We think we have a lot of skill. When the game gets a little bigger, stronger, harder, we have some bigger, stronger guys too.”

O’Neill is the only player to return from the 2018 squad, which lost to Czech Republic in the quarter-finals.

“We hit a post with two minutes to go, and then we lost in the shootout (with a chance) to go to the semi-finals,” Young said. “It was close for us to go and play for the medals. We are looking forward to success.”

Defenseman Brian Cooper, who plays in Sweden, and goaltender Pat Nagle, who is in the American Hockey League with Leigh Valley, were dropped from the US roster.

craze for checks

Longtime Boston Bruins center David Crazy heads the Czech roster, which also includes former NHL forwards Michael Frolik, Tomas Haika, Vladimir Sobotka, Roman Cervenka, Lukas Sedlak and Michal Repik, and defensemen Jacob Jarabek, Tomas Kundratec and Libor Sulak.

Krejci, 35, has skated in 1,088 games with the Bruins over the past 15 NHL seasons and decided to return to his native country to play in front of friends and family there. He is one of four players on the Czech Extraliga team, while 12 come from the Russia-based Continental Hockey League.


More Associated Press Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/olympic-games and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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