COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) will be well represented at the 2018 World Junior Summer Showcase next month, as five current NCHC skaters and four incoming freshmen were selected to the initial 42-man United States roster, USA Hockey announced Friday. The nine NCHC players will be competing from July 28-Aug. 4 in Kamloops, British Columbia, where they’ll go through a training camp and face teams from host Canada, Finland and Sweden in preparation for the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship.
Three of the five current NCHC players named to the U.S. roster were also on last year’s U.S. National Junior Team that earned a bronze medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. Those three are Minnesota Duluth rising sophomore defensemen Mikey Anderson and Dylan Samberg, along with St. Cloud State junior forward Ryan Poehling. The two other current NCHC skaters invited to the World Junior Summer Showcase are a third UMD sophomore blue liner in Matt Anderson and North Dakota sophomore forward Grant Mismash, who took part in last year’s World Junior Summer Showcase as well. Incoming NCHC freshmen invited to the World Junior Summer Showcase include Miami forward Jon Gruden, UMD forward Noah Cates, Western Michigan forward Paul Cotter and WMU defenseman Mattias Samuelsson.
Poehling (Lakeville, Minn.) saw an 18-point increase in his scoring from his freshman to sophomore season with the Huskies. He racked up 14 goals and dished out 17 assists for 31 points in 36 games in 2017-18 to help SCSU capture the Penrose Cup as the NCHC’s regular-season champion. At the 2018 World Junior Championship, the Montreal Canadiens 2017 first round draft pick tallied a goal and had two assists, while firing 14 shots on goal in seven games. In addition to his bronze medal last year, Poehling won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2017 IIHF Under-18 World Championship in Slovakia.
Mikey Anderson (Roseville, Minn.), Matt Anderson (Shakopee, Minn.) and Samberg (Hermantown, Minn.) all had strong rookie seasons in the NCHC, helping Minnesota Duluth win the 2018 NCAA national championship in April. Mikey Anderson, a 2017 fourth round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings, compiled 23 points on five goals and 18 assists in 39 games for UMD with a +11 plus/minus. Samberg, a second-round selection by the Winning Jets in 2017, tallied a goal and 12 assists in 42 games as a freshman, while leading the Bulldogs with 76 blocked shots. Matt Anderson, who is draft-eligible this summer, also notched one goal to go with five assists and a +10 plus/minus in 35 games as a rookie. At last year’s World Junior Championship, Samberg contributed a goal and three assists in seven games, while posting a +10 plus/minus for Team USA, while Mikey Anderson had one assist and was +2 in seven contests.
Mismash (Edina, Minn.) was named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team this past season after tying for sixth among NCHC rookies in scoring with 22 points in 38 games for UND. He potted nine goals and added 13 assists en route to earning four NCHC Rookie of the Week honors and the NCHC’s October Rookie of the Month. He was selected in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Nashville Predators.
Gruden (Rochester Hills, Mich.), who is draft eligible this summer, heads to Miami after spending the last two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program. With the Under-18 Team this past season, Gruden notched 60 points (28 goals, 32 assists) in 61 games and also served as an alternate captain for Team USA during the 2018 IIHF U-18 World Championship, where he dished out four assists in seven games to help the U.S. earn a silver medal.
Cates (Stillwater, Minn.), who will join three of his future Bulldog teammates at the World Junior Summer Showcase, was taken in the fifth round of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. After playing for Stillwater High School for three seasons, last year Cates played in the USHL for the Omaha Lancers, racking up 55 points on 21 goals and 34 assists in 60 games.
Cotter (Canton, Mich.) and Samuelsson (Voorhees, N.J.) are both draft-eligible this June and will become teammates at the Summer Showcase before both head to Kalamazoo to join the Broncos. Cotter totaled 39 points in his lone season in the USHL, scoring 18 goals and dishing out 21 assists in 51 games for the Lincoln Stars to earn USHL All-Rookie Team honors. Samuelsson recently captained USA's U-18 Team at the 2018 IIHF U-18 World Championship, helping Team USA win silver along with Gruden. The 6-foot-4 defenseman played in all seven games, scoring a goal and tallying an assist. In all competitions with the U.S. National Team Development Program and the U-18 Team he played in 88 games, scoring 16 goals and adding 31 assists for 47 points.
All 42 invitees to the World Junior Summer Showcase will audition for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will compete in the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2018, through Jan. 5, 2019, in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.
Minnesota Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin is serving as an assistant coach on the 2019 U.S. National Junior Team. A preliminary Team USA roster will be announced in December when the U.S. holds National Junior Team camp again, with the final 2019 U.S. National Junior Team roster announced shortly before the World Junior Championship begins.