Gustav Possler (2013, fifth round) concluded an impressive week of performances Saturday as Sweden dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to Finland in the final game of the 2013 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY. The young Swedish club, which featured 10 prospects yet to be drafted into the NHL, heads home with a 3-2 record in the preparatory tune-up for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship later this winter.
Possler was unable to get on the scoreboard in the loss, but the skilled winger held up his end of the bargain as an all-situations fixture on Sweden’s top offensive unit. His chemistry with Alexander Wennberg (CBJ) was rather noticeable Saturday, with the duo creating quality scoring chances thanks in part to Possler’s instincts and willingness to engage in one-on-one battles in front of the Finnish net. One of Possler’s better shifts came in the four-on-four overtime when he recorded three shots on goal, including an open chance at the doorstep that was kicked away by Finnish backstop Juuse Saros (NSH). His shootout attempt was also stopped.
Possler, who will play for MODO of the Swedish Hockey League this fall, rounded out his two-way value with an active defensive stick and ability to block shots on the penalty kill. With four points (2+2) in five games and an honest effort away from the puck, many watchers could be wondering how the talented forward lasted all the way to the 130th overall selection at the 2013 Draft.
In the day’s early game, J.T. Compher (2013, second round) sat out as Team USA rode three power play tallies and a short-handed marker to a dominating 5-1 victory over rival Canada. Compher’s absence followed four consistent efforts in front of the USA brass, giving the decision makers a clear read on his ability while offering more time to evaluate his peers. The University of Michigan commit made his presence felt throughout camp with his combination of will and skill, and is expected to be in the thick of things when Team USA reconvenes to form their World Junior roster come December.
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