Team USA captain Jake McCabe (2012, second round) earned a gold medal Saturday as the Americans downed Sweden 3-1 to claim first place at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Prior to a steady defensive performance versus the Swedes, McCabe stepped up his game in the semi-final round Thursday when he scored a pair of first-period goals to lead the Americans to a 5-1 dismantling of Canada. McCabe, who also added an assist in the victory, was named USA's player of the game following the timely three-point outing.
A shutdown defender who excelled in all-situations, McCabe completed the event with six points (3+3) in seven games, to go along with 16 PIM, 13 shots on goal, and a team-best plus-nine rating. The superb all-around effort was rewarded with a spot on the tournament All-Star Team.
With history made, the 19-year old McCabe heads back to the WCHA to resume his sophomore season at the University of Wisconsin where he has gathered nine points (2+7) in 16 games. The Badgers travel to Minnesota State on Friday.
WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
In the bronze medal game, goaltender Andrey Makarov made 40 saves to backstop Russia to a thrilling 6-5 overtime defeat of Canada. Makarov, who ended the tournament with a 2-1 record, 2.99 GAA, and .933 save%, will get another chance to shine on a big stage later in the year when his Saskatoon Blades host the 2013 Memorial Cup.
Mikhail Grigorenko (2012, first round) was unable to score in the third-place tilt, but was named one of Russia's top three players at the conclusion of the tournament thanks to a two-goal, six-point output. Grigorenko, who executed with a 48 percent success rate on faceoffs (65W-69L), will return to the Quebec Remparts ranked 12th in QMJHL scoring with 29 goals and 50 points with 28 games remaining on the schedule.
On Friday, Joel Armia (2011, first round) rang up a hat trick plus an assist as Finland claimed fifth place with an 11-4 stomping of Slovakia. The four-point effort vaulted Armia into a second-place finish among all tourney scorers with 12 points (6+6, 3 PPG, 1 GWG) through the Finns’ six games. Armia now returns to SM-Liiga’s Assat Pori, where he needs 10 goals over the final 23 games to hit the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career.
Justin Kea (2012, third round) continued his elevated level of play Saturday, pacing the Saginaw Spirit with a pair of shorthanded goals in a 6-2 victory over the Owen Sound Attack. The defensive-minded centerman, who also earned an assist for the first three-point night of his OHL career, ups his impressive season output to 13 goals and 31 points at the 40-game mark. Three of his 13 strikes have come on the penalty kill.
Dan Catenacci (2011, third round) recorded one assist last week as the Owen Sound Attack kicked off the new year with three straight defeats. The speedy forward enters the week of play tied for eighth in league scoring with 52 points (21+31).
Belleville Bulls defenseman Brady Austin (2012, seventh round) sat out Saturday’s tilt versus Sault Ste. Marie after suffering a hand injury on Thursday. Relied on for his defensive stability, the 6-foot-4 Austin is expected to miss at least one week of action, with the injury likely not impacting what the Bulls do as Thursday’s OHL trade deadline approaches.
Prince George forward Colin Jacobs (2011, fourth round) was held off the scoresheet in the week’s two games as the Cougars’ winless skid hit five games. The wire-to-wire offensive leader for the Cougars this season with 30 points, Jacobs remains as the only forward on the club with a double-digit goal total (13).
Victoria Royals forward Logan Nelson (2012, fifth round) will be out four-to-six weeks with a lower body injury following an awkward fall along the boards in the final week of 2012. Nelson exits the lineup as the Royals’ second-leading point-getter with 31 (8+23) through 34 appearances.
Judd Peterson (2012, seventh round) extended his point streak to four games Saturday with a goal and an assist as Cedar Rapids pounded Waterloo 6-1. Peterson, who racked up a career-best plus-four rating in the win, has an even 20 points (7+13) through 26 games, with eight of those coming in his last four.
Brad Navin (2011, seventh round) skated in bottom line minutes Friday as visiting Wisconsin downed Alaska-Anchorage 5-3. The sophomore forward did not dress on Saturday as the Badgers earned the road sweep with a 1-0 shutout, and in the process extended their WCHA unbeaten streak to eight games.
In Sweden, Linus Ullmark (2012, sixth round) returned to MODO J20 action for the beginning of the SuperElit League Top 10 series, posting back-to-back victories including a 26-save shutout of Sodertalje SK on Saturday. With a .983 save% after the opening weekend of play, Ullmark should again get the nod Saturday when MODO J20 hosts Farjestads BK.
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