UConn Men’s Hockey will have representation on two different rosters for the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships. Freshman goaltender Adam Huska and sophomore forward Tage Thompson were selected to the Slovakian and American teams.
Thompson registered three goals in the two exhibitions, playing on the top line in games against Switzerland and the Czech Republic. He scored once on the power play against the Swiss and notched two more against the Czechs.
A first-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Thompson is one of the seven such selections on the roster and is one of 11 Hockey East players, the most of any league. Months after being UConn’s first first-round draft pick, he is now the first Husky to play for the U.S. in the WJC.
On a team that is built to be small and skilled, Thompson can provide a little bit of size. He and Boston University forward Jordan Greenway share the distinction of being the tallest on the team at 6-foot-5 and Thompson is one of just four forwards above 200 pounds.
But the Connecticut native is not there to be a bruiser. He’s plenty skillful, as shown by this goal against UMass.
Adam Huska, after looking initially like his rebound control could keep him from being successful with UConn in his freshman season, has bounced back tremendously and is leading Hockey East in many statistical categories, with the best goals against average (1.95) and save percentage (.940) among the 12 qualifying goaltenders in conference games.
Huska survived a cut in camp from five goaltenders to three and is one of only two NCAA players on Slovakia’s roster along with fellow goaltender Matej Tomek of North Dakota.
While it is great that the Huskies are represented in the WJC, it also means Mike Cavanaugh’s squad will be without its top scorer and goaltender for the Desert Hockey Classic on Dec. 30 and 31 and potentially for the Yale game on Jan. 7, which is two days after the gold medal game on Jan. 5.
Team USA will open tournament play on Dec. 26 against Latvia at 3:30 p.m. The Americans will face off with Team Slovakia on Dec. 28, potentially setting up a matchup between Thompson and teammate Adam Huska. All of the Team USA games will be broadcast on NHL Network.