Union's Gostisbehere still on Team USA World Junior Hockey roster; 1 more cut to be made
Union sophomore defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere remains on the Team USA roster for the the World Junior Hockey Championships.
Team USA was expected to trim its roster from 26 to 23 players. Two players were cut early Sunday morning -- defenseman Brady Skjei and forward Stefan Matteau. But one more cut remains.
"We are very close to finalizing our group of defensemen, pending the resolution of a medical situation," Team USA general manager Jim Johannson said in a statement. "We are set with our 13 forwards and three goaltenders. The decisions we made today were very difficult and are a testament to the talent available to us in the United States."
Two reports say that defenseman Connor Murphy may be the player with the medical issue. Murphy dressed for Saturday's final tune-up game against Finland, but hardly played.
A USA Hockey spokesman declined to confirm the identity of the player with the medical issue.
Team USA begins preliminary-round play in the WJC on Thursday against Germany at 9 a.m. The tournament runs from Wednesday through Jan. 5 and is being played in Ufa, Russia. Team USA will face Russia at 9 a.m. Friday, Canada at 4:30 a.m. next Sunday and Slovakia at 5 a.m. next Monday. The quarterfinal round is Jan. 2, the semifinals are Jan. 3 and the gold-medal and bronze-medal games are Jan. 5.
Gostisbehere, who is from Margate, Fla., played in Team USA's two pre-tournament games in Helsinki, Finland. He scored the game-winning goal in overtime in Thursday's 3-2 win over Sweden. He didn't figure in Team USA's lone goal in a 5-1 loss to Finland.
An ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team selection last season, Gostisbehere is tied for fifth on the Dutchmen in scoring with five goals and eight assists. He was a third-round selection of the Philadelphia Flyers in last June's NHL draft. Gostisbehere played in all 41 of Union's games last season and had five goals and 17 assists.
Gostisbehere was invited to the U.S. National Team Development Camp last August in Lake Placid. He had an excellent camp, collecting two goals and two assists in four games.
When Gostisbehere was named to the Team USA preliminary roster Dec. 4, he was very excited.
"Ever since I was little, watching Team USA play, and sitting in my dorm in South Kent [School in Connecticut] watching them when they won [the gold medal] in '09, it's like you want to be there. You want to be on that team," Gostisbehere said. "It's like a dream-come-true sort of thing because, now, it’s happening."
NHL Network will televise all of Team USA's games.