Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Looking forward: World U18 edition

All three future Terriers participating in the IIHF World U18 Championships reached the medal round but only Corey Trivino will play for the gold, as Canada takes on the host Russian team on Wednesday. Trivino, who scored a hattrick and added an assist in Canada’s 4-1 win over Denmark in preliminary round play, has six points thus far in the tournament.

Team USA lost in the semifinals, losing to Russia, 3-1, and meets Sweden in the Bronze medal game. on to the quarterfinals and faces Germany. Thus far, team Captain David Warsofsky has six assists and Vinny Saponari, subject of a USA Hockey profile last week, has two assists.

Video of the gold medal game is expected to be streamed live --in Russian-- beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET. Go to CobinaTV. Scroll to the bottom and click on a green icon with the letters THB in the middle. When the small viewer appears, double-click on the video image and it will become full screen. If the bronze medal game is Webcast, it will begin at 7:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

McKeen’s Hockey Prospects recently took a hard, analytical look at the two latest Terrier recruits from the NTDP program, addressing each one's strengths and weaknesses.

USNTDP-U18 Team: My Cousin Vinny Kevin Hopson, McKeen's Hockey Prospects

Though Danny Kristo is considered the top-rated draft-eligible prospect in the U.S. National Team Development Program, there are a few others to keep an eye on, including winger Vinny Saponari. McKeen's correspondent Kevin Hopson provides an update on Saponari, as well as teammates Justin Florek and David Warsofsky.

Vinny Saponari (2008), F, USNTDP-U18 A decent skater who lacks the necessary gear to blow by opponents, though he helps make up for this deficiency with his gifted puckmoving abilities .. owns an active stick and incredibly flexible hands, which – together – can make defenders miss .. crafty with the puck and can hold on to the rubber for lengthy periods of time .. also possesses a sneaky and precise passing game .. for example, he can pick up speed coming out of his own end, giving the impression that he is going to rush the ice however, he will sometimes dish the puck right before hitting full stride, reeling opponents in and causing them to over commit in the process .. enjoys astute vision on the ice, as he can find teammates in transition and even send a wing-to -wing pass across the mouth of the goal .. works most efficiently around the half boards and down low .. a special teams player who logs icetime on both the man advantage and PK .. though a respectable defender, his stickhandling expertise and aggressive nature on the forecheck are what hold value during penalty kills.

David Warsofsky (2008), D, USNTDP-U18 A mobile, puckmoving defenseman who can work in all three zones .. displays proper positioning on defense, as he does an effective job of cutting down angles and getting in the shooting lanes .. not afraid to initiate contact and get in the face of opponents.. utilizes the boards well, particularly in pressure situations .. plays a clean game for the most part, as he makes safe and precise passes in his own end .. has the capacity to skate the puck out of trouble as well .. can be dangerous in transition, as he possesses the gentle hands and smart vision to make a quality outlet pass .. also capable of keeping the puck and leading the rush himself .. does not look to shoot from the point that often, as he prefers to utilize his productive passing game to set up teammates .. however, he will pinch at times, as he loves to crash the net and be on the receiving end of a one-timer .. because of his puckmoving abilities, he sees regular time on the man advantage.

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