The weekly press conferences were held in the morning, because the team is practicing earlier with no school going on.
It started with coach Dave Hakstol and forward Matt Frattin addressing the media about Frattin’s return. Hakstol said that there’s a good chance Frattin will be in the lineup on Saturday when the Sioux play Niagara. There will be more from Frattin later.
As for the injury situation, nothing has changed in regards to Chay Genoway. He will not play in Notre Dame’s tournament this weekend, but he will make the trip with the rest of the team.
"It will be nice not having to see him standing in the tunnel as the bus pulls away," Hakstol said.
Darcy Zajac also is making the trip with the team. He’s not going to play this weekend after having hernia surgery a couple of weeks ago. But Hakstol said that Zajac is making good progress and is either ahead of schedule or right on schedule. Zajac already is doing light skating.
Brett Hextall said that the first three practices this week have been pretty spirited and tough. He also said there is an excitement in the air around the locker room with Frattin being back.
Danny Kristo had two goals in the first 12 minutes and the U.S. led 6-0 after the first period. The final score was 12-1.
This sets up another New Year’s Eve showdown between the Americans and Canadians. The winner gets a bye to the semifinals. The loser will likely get Finland in a quarterfinal, while being placed in Sweden’s half.
Canada has had USA’s number since the Americans beat them for the gold in 2004.
Last year on New Year’s Eve, USA took a 3-0 lead only to lose 7-4. In 2007, Canada beat the U.S. in the Jonathan Toews sudden-death shootout game.
UND forward Matt Frattin is back on campus, has re-enrolled and is eligible to play in the second half of the season.
He will travel to Chicago with the team, but it’s unknown whether he’ll play yet.
"To this point, he’s done all the right things," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "It’s one day at a time. He’s eligible to play. I’m approaching it one day forward at a time. I’m really impressed with how Matt has handled everything right from Day One."
The Hockey Academy will be hosting the Little Caesars North American Showcase this year and it has announced the schedule for the event, which will be held Jan. 7-10 at Ralph Engelstad Arena and Gambucci Arena.
The tournament will feature five teams, including Dixon Ward’s Okanagan Hockey Academy from Kelowna, B.C. The other teams are from Michigan, Colorado, Texas and Minnesota.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s, which always seems to be the big draw, is the Minnesota team at the tournament. They currently have four D-I commits on their roster and are bound to have more. When the tournament gets closer, I’ll try to get a better list of players to watch.
Admission is free.
Here’s the schedule:
Thur. Jan. 7
Game #1 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM Okanagan Hockey Academy vs. Shattuck–St. Mary’s
Fri. Jan. 8
Game #2 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM Little Caesars vs. Team Rocky Mountain (REA Olympic)
Game #3 Noon – 2:00 PM Okanagan Hockey Academy vs. Alliance Bulldogs
Game #4 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM Team Rocky Mountain vs.
Sat. Jan. 9
Game #5 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM Okanagan Hockey Academy vs.
Game #6 Noon – 2:00 PM Alliance Bulldogs vs.
Game #7 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM Okanagan Hockey Academy vs.
Team Rocky Mountain
Game #8 7:15 PM – 9:15 PM Little Caesars vs. Alliance Bulldogs
Sun. Jan. 10
Game #9 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM Team Rocky Mountain vs. Alliance Bulldogs (REA Main)
Game #10 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM Little Caesars vs. Shattuck–St. Mary’s
It didn’t start well, but Danny Kristo and the Americans managed to take care of business in the first pool play game.
Kristo had an even-strength goal and an assist in the 7-3 win over Slovakia. The Americans trailed 2-0 early after the Slovaks scored twice on a major power play. But Team USA rebounded for four straight goals and seven of the next eight.