NCAA: Nineteen players selected for WJC

By DJ Powers







Nineteen NCAA players have been selected to participate in the upcoming Under-20 World Junior Championships (WJC) that will be taking place in Finland from December 26th thru January 5th. Seventeen of the 19 players will represent the United States, while the other two will represent Canada and Austria. The selected players are spread out among ten schools, with the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of North Dakota and University of Wisconsin having the most selected players with three each. Colorado College has two selected players, while Boston College, University of Denver, University of Massachusetts (UMass), University of Maine and University of Minnesota all have one each. Two original players named to the Team USA squad from the NCAA will not be in participation due to injuries: goaltender James Howard (University of Maine) and defenseman Dylan Reese (Harvard).

GOALTENDERS

Alvaro Montoya – University of Michigan (USA): The University of Michigan sophomore will be making his first appearance for Team USA. A native of Glenview, Illinois, he will be eligible for the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. The NHL Central Scouting Bureau (CSB) preliminary rankings currently have Montoya ranked first among all NCAA goaltenders eligible for the draft. He currently has an 11-6-1 record and his three shutouts rank him tied for first in the nation in that category. Montoya currently ranks second in the nation in minutes played with 1063:43. Last season, Montoya set Michigan freshman goaltending records in wins (30), games played (43) and save percentage (.906). Montoya is experienced in international play, as he helped lead the United States to a gold medal at the 2002 World U-17 Hockey Challenge in Canada as well as the 2001 Four Nations Tournament in Slovakia.

Dominic Vicari – Michigan State University (USA): The Michigan State University freshman will be making his first appearance for Team USA, replacing the injured James Howard of Maine. The Clinton Township, Michigan native will be eligible for the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. The NHL Central Scouting Bureau (CSB) has Vicari currently ranked fifth among all NCAA goaltenders eligible for the draft. Vicari is currently Michigan State’s starting goaltender and has a 5-6-0 record in NCAA play that includes two shutouts. His GAA of 2.36 currently ranks him third in the CCHA in that category. Vicari’s .918 save percentage ties him for fifth in the CCHA. Prior to his arrival to Michigan State, Vicari played two seasons for the USHL’s River City Lancers where he led the league in virtually every goaltending category. He holds the USHL record for most victories (53) and lowest goals against average (1.91). In 2003, Vicari was awarded USA Hockey’s Dave Peterson Award for Goaltender of the Year.


DEFENSEMEN

Matthew Carle – University of Denver (USA): The University of Denver freshman is one of the several new defensemen for Team USA at this year’s WJC. The Anchorage, Alaska native is a San Jose Sharks prospect, who was drafted in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (second round, 47th overall). He is currently enjoying an excellent season with the Denver Pioneers. His five points (two goals, three assists) currently ranks him first among the team’s freshmen in that category. Prior to arriving in Denver, Carle played for the River City Lancers (USHL). In the 2002-03 season, Carle was named the USHL’s Defenseman of the Year, after posting a stellar 46-point (14 goals, 32 assists) season. In international play, Carle was a member of the gold-medal winning 2002 United States World U-18 team. He was also a member of the United States National U-17 team in 2001.

Matt Hunwick – University of Michigan (USA): The University of Michigan freshman will be another newcomer to Team USA’s WJC team this year. The Roseville, Michigan native replaces the injured Dylan Reese of Harvard on the American squad. Hunwick will be eligible for the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. The NHL Central Scouting Bureau (CSB) preliminary rankings currently have Hunwick ranked 26th among all NCAA skaters (12th among all defensemen). Hunwick is enjoying an excellent season, having appeared in every game thus far for the Michigan Wolverines. He has racked up four points (zero goals, four assists). In international play, Hunwick was a member of the United States’ fourth place finishing World U-18 in 2003. He was also a member of Team USA at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge that won gold medal in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2002.

Jeff Likens – University of Wisconsin (USA): The University of Wisconsin freshman is another one of Team USA’s newest defensemen in the WJC this year. The Barrington, Illinois native will be eligible for the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. The NHL Central Scouting Bureau (CSB) preliminary rankings currently have Likens ranked 18th among all NCAA skaters (eighth among all defensemen) eligible for the draft. Likens has been an integral part of Wisconsin’s current school record-tying 14-game unbeaten streak (10-0-4) playing both in full strength and special teams situations. His 11 points (two goals, nine assists) ranks him first on the team among defensemen in scoring. In international play, Likens helped propel the United States to a gold medal in the U-17 World Hockey Challenge in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2002. He was also a member of the fourth place finishing USA team at the U-18 World Juniors tournament in Russia in 2003.

Corey Potter – Michigan State University (USA): The Michigan State sophomore will be making his first appearance for the Team USA at the WJC. The Mason, Michigan native is a New York Rangers prospect, who was drafted in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (fourth Round, 122nd overall). Potter has played in every game for the Spartans thus far this season, registering three points (zero goals, three assists). In international play, he was a member of the United States’ U-18 World team that won the gold medal in 2002 in Slovakia. Potter was also a member of Team USA’s National U-17 team in 2001 and Select U-17 team in 2000.

Mark Stuart – Colorado College (USA): The Colorado College sophomore will be making a return appearance for Team USA at the WJC. The Rochester, Minnesota native is a Boston Bruins prospect who was selected in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (first round, 21st overall). Stuart has become one of the most dynamic and intimidating defensemen in the NCAA. He currently has four points on the season (two goals, two assists) and leads the Tigers in penalty minutes with 36. Last season, Stuart was named to the WCHA All-Rookie team. With the exception of time missed due to his participation in the 2002-03 WJC in Canada, Stuart played in every game for Colorado College in his freshman year. In international play, he was a member of the gold medal winning U-18 USA World team in 2002. Stuart was also a member of the United States’ National U-17 team in 2001. At the 2002 Five Nations Tournament in Russia, Stuart was named top defenseman, where he helped lead Team USA to a silver medal.

Ryan Suter – University of Wisconsin (USA): The University of Wisconsin freshman is another one of the returnees for Team USA in this year’s WJC. The Madison, Wisconsin native is the son of US Olympic gold medallist Bob Suter and the nephew of former NHLer Gary Suter. Ryan Suter is a Nashville Predators prospect, who was selected in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (first round, seventh overall). Suter is one of the NCAA’s most exciting defensemen to watch, whose talents are immense. He has played in every game thus far for Wisconsin, racking up nine points (one goal, eight assists). In international play, Suter helped the United States capture gold medals at the U-17 World Challenge Tournament in Winnipeg, Manitoba as well as the World U-18 Tournament in Slovakia in 2002. In 2001, Suter was named as the Top Defenseman at the Four Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic. In 2003, Suter was the recipient of USA Hockey’s Bob Johnson Award, which is awarded for excellence in international competition in a given season.


FORWARDS

David Booth – Michigan State University (USA): The Michigan State sophomore will be making his first appearance for Team USA in the WJC this year. The Washington, Michigan native will be eligible for the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. The NHL Central Scouting Bureau (CSB) preliminary rankings currently have Booth ranked fifth among all NCAA skaters. Booth has racked up six points (three goals, three assists) on the season thus far for the Spartans. He enjoyed a stellar freshman campaign last season, amassing 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 39 games and earning a spot on the CCHA All-Rookie team. In international play, he was a member of the Team USA’s gold-medal winning U-18 World team in Slovakia in 2002.

Jake Dowell – University of Wisconsin (USA): The University of Wisconsin freshman will be making his first appearance with Team USA in the WJC this year. The Eau Claire, Wisconsin native will be eligible for the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. The NHL Central Scouting Bureau (CSB) preliminary rankings currently have Dowell ranked 12th among all NCAA skaters. Dowell has helped propel the Wisconsin Badgers to a top five ranking in the nation, going undefeated in a school record tying 14 games (10-0-4) thus far this season. He currently ranks fifth on the team in points with 12 (three goals, nine assists). His nine assists are second on the team in that category. In international play, Dowell served as an assistant captain for Team USA for the fourth place finishing USA team at the U-18 World Juniors tournament in Russia in 2003. He was also a member of Team USA at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge that won gold medal in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2002.

Patrick Eaves – Boston College (USA): The Boston College sophomore will be making his first appearance for Team USA in this year’s WJC. He was selected to participate last year, but had to bow out due to injury. The Fairbault, Minnesota native is a prospect of the Ottawa Senators, who was selected in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (first round, 29th overall). Eaves is the son of Team USA and University of Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves. The talented winger is enjoying a stellar season with Boston College, playing on the Eagles top line with older brother Ben and senior Tony Voce. He has 15 points (five goals, ten assists) thus far, which ranks him fourth on the team in that category. His 1.36 average points per game ranks him tied for second in Hockey East. In international play, Eaves helped the United States capture the gold medal at the U-18 World Championships in Slovakia in 2002, serving as an assistant captain. He was also a member of the United States’ U-18 Select team that participated in the Four Nations Tournament in Slovakia in 2001.

Greg Moore – University of Maine (USA): The University of Maine sophomore is among the returnees for Team USA at this year’s WJC. The Lisbon, Maine native is a prospect of the Calgary Flames, who was selected in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (fifth round, 143rd overall). Moore is putting together another excellent season at Maine. He currently has 14 points that includes 8 goals and 6 assists. He is tied for first among all Black Bears players in each category. His five power-play goals rank him tied for seventh in the nation in that category. Moore enjoyed a very successful freshman year last season. In 33 games played, he amassed 16 points (nine goals, seven assists). Five of his nine goals came on special teams (four power-play, one short-handed). In international play, Moore served as an assistant captain for Team USA’s gold-medal winning World U-18 team in Slovakia in 2002.

Brady Murray – University of North Dakota (USA): The University of North Dakota freshman is making his first appearance for the United States in this year’s WJC. The Brandon, Manitoba, Canada native holds dual citizenship and is the son of Los Angeles Kings head coach, Andy Murray. Brady Murray was invited to Team Canada’s tryout camp this summer, but instead opted to play for the United States, who guaranteed him a spot on the team. Murray is a Los Angeles Kings prospect who was selected in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (fifth round, 152nd overall). He has appeared in every game for North Dakota as a member of North Dakota’s exciting and potent top line. Thus far Murray has racked up 17 points (six goals, 11 assists), which ranks him first among all Fighting Sioux rookies. He is also tied for the lead in assists among all North Dakota players. Murray ranks second in the nation in points per game (1.31), third in the nation in assists (11) and tied for second in the nation in points (17) among all rookies.

Zach Parise – University of North Dakota (USA): The University of North Dakota sophomore is making a return appearance to the WJC this year for Team USA. The native of Fairbault, Minnesota is a prospect of the New Jersey Devils, who was selected in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (first round, 17th overall). He is the son of former NHLer J. P. Parise. The immensely gifted center is enjoying another terrific year on arguably the most exciting and potent top line in the nation. Parise has thus far racked up 16 points (six goals, ten assists), which ranks him third on the team in that category. In both goals and assists he is tied for second on the team. He also leads the team in shots taken with 55. In his freshman year, Parise became North Dakota’s first rookie finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. He led the nation in points per game (1.56) among rookies and overall finished eighth in the nation in scoring with 61 points (26 goals, 35 assists). In international play, Parise was a member of the United States’ gold-medal winning U-18 World team in Slovakia in 2002. At the 2002-03 WJC in Canada, he led Team USA in points with eight.

Drew Stafford – University of North Dakota (USA): The University of North Dakota freshman is making his first appearance for Team USA in the WJC this year. The Fairbault, Minnesota native replaces injured Los Angeles Kings rookie Dustin Brown on the roster. Stafford is enjoying an outstanding year, having appeared in every North Dakota game thus far. His 15 points (six goals, nine assists) rank him fourth on the team, and second among all Fighting Sioux rookies. Stafford is the top ranked NCAA player by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau’s preliminary ranking of all 2004 draft-eligible players.

Brett Sterling – Colorado College (USA): The Colorado College sophomore is another forward making a return appearance in the WJC for Team USA this year. The Pasadena, California native is a prospect of the Atlanta Thrashers, who was selected in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (fifth round, 145th overall). The high-scoring, high-flying winger is enjoying another outstanding season with Colorado College. Sterling missed five games earlier this season due to a broken bone in his hand that he sustained in the game versus Clarkson back on October 25th. Despite the loss of games however, Sterling ranks fourth on the team in scoring with 11 points (five goals, six assists). He enjoyed an excellent freshman campaign last season, racking up 38 points (27 goals, 11 assists) and earning a spot on the WCHA All-Rookie team. His 27 goals rank him third in Colorado College history for goals scored by freshmen. In international play, Sterling led Team USA in scoring and helped the team capture the gold medal at the World U-18 Championships in Slovakia in 2002.

Jeff Tambellini – University of Michigan (Canada): The University of Michigan sophomore is the lone NCAA player who has been selected to represent Canada in this year’s WJC. The Port Moody, British Columbia native is a prospect of the Los Angeles Kings who was selected in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (first round, 27th overall). He is the son of Steve Tambellini, the Vice President of Player Personnel for the Vancouver Canucks. The sensational and versatile left-winger has amassed 12 points thus far (nine goals, three assists), which ranks him second on the Michigan team in points. His nine goals lead all Wolverines in that category. He also leads all Wolverines players in shots taken with 83. In his freshman season, he led all Michigan players in scoring with 45 points (26 goals, 19 assists), garnering him CCHA Rookie of the Year honors. He was also named to CCHA All-Conference second team and was the lone freshman to receive all-conference honors. In international play, Tambellini was a member of Team Canada’s U-18 team that won the Six Nations Cup in the Czech Republic in 2001. He was also a member of the silver-medal winning Team Pacific in the 2001 U-17 World Hockey Challenge in Nova Scotia in 2001.

Tomas Vanek – University of Minnesota (Austria): The University of Minnesota sophomore will be making a return trip to the WJC for Team Austria. The Graz, Austria native is a Buffalo Sabres prospect, who was selected in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (first round, fifth overall). The exciting and immensely gifted left-winger leads all Golden Gophers players in scoring with 20 points (ten goals, ten assists). His ten goals also leads the team, while his ten assists co-leads all Minnesota players. He led all rookies in scoring last season with 62 points (31 goals, 31 assists), and helped propel Minnesota to their second consecutive national title. In the 2003 Frozen Four Tournament, Vanek captured the tournament’s MVP honors and was also named the WCHA’s Rookie of the Year. In international play, he helped lead Austria to a perfect 5-0-0 record in the 2002-03 WJC, which led to Austria gaining a top eight spot in this year’s WJC. In 2001, he represented Austria in the World Junior Championships ranking up ten points in seven games that earned him top forward honors in the tournament.

Stephen Werner – University of Massachusetts (USA): The UMass sophomore is making his first appearance for Team USA at the WJC this year. The Chevy Chase, Maryland native is a Washington Capitals prospect who was selected in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (third round, 83rd overall). The talented Werner has played in every game for UMass thus far this season. His 11 points (four goals, seven assists) rank him fourth on the team in that category. Werner enjoyed a stellar freshman year that saw him post 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists) and lead the team with a +20. He led all Hockey East rookies in points in the 2002-03 and ranked sixth in the nation in that category. He was also named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. In international play, Werner was a member of Team USA’s gold medal winning U-18 World team in 2002. He was also a member of the United States’ U-17 World Challenge team that won the gold medal in 2001.

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