UND’s Lee Back Again, Five Gophers Dot U.S. Junior Team

Three-time pick Brian Lee of North Dakota headed up the selections, while five Minnesota Golden Gophers were named to the 22-man U.S. roster for the upcoming World Junior Championship, announced Wednesday by USA Hockey.

The squad, which features the top American players under the age of 20, is dominated as usual by current collegians, with 17 players selected from Division I rosters.

Lee, a defenseman with the Fighting Sioux, returns to the U.S. junior team after being part of fourth-place finishes in both 2005 and 2006. He will be joined by UND teammate Taylor Chorney, also a blueliner and a repeat selection to the team.

Minnesota will send a nation-high five players, including forwards Kyle Okposo, Mike Carman and Ryan Stoa, defenseman Erik Johnson, and goaltender Jeff Frazee. Frazee and Johnson are each making their second appearance at the World Juniors.

Two-time WJC pick Jack Skille, a forward, leads a group of three Wisconsin Badgers that includes forward Blake Geoffrion and defenseman Jamie McBain. Fellow WCHA program Colorado College saw forward Bill Sweatt selected, giving the WCHA a total of 11 players on the U.S. roster.

The other repeat selections from last year were Boston College forward Nate Gerbe, Michigan defenseman Jack Johnson and Peter Mueller, who plays for Everett of the major junior Western Hockey League.

Also picked to the team from college rosters were goaltender Jeff Zatkoff of Miami and defenseman Kyle Lawson of Notre Dame, as well as forwards Justin Abdelkader of Michigan State and Jim Fraser of Harvard.

Defenseman Sean Zimmerman of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs and forwards Patrick Kane, with London of the Ontario Hockey League, Trevor Lewis from the OHL’s Owen Sound, and James vanRiemsdyk of the U.S. Under-18 Team were also named.

Ron Rolston, head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Team — part of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program — will serve as head coach, assisted by Phil Housley and Union head coach Nate Leaman. Fifteen members of the 2007 team have spent time with the NTDP at some point in their careers.

The 2007 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship will be held in Leksand and Mora, Sweden, from Dec. 26, 2006 to Jan. 5, 2007. The U.S. team will take on Germany at 3 p.m. local time (9 a.m. Eastern time) on Dec. 26 to open its schedule, followed by games against Canada, Slovakia and host Sweden.

Round-robin play proceeds through Dec. 31, with the quarterfinals Jan. 2, the semifinals the next day and the gold- and bronze-medal games Jan. 5.


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