Minnesota shows off US junior talent

JUSTIN FELISKO Updated: December 7, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: December 7, 2012

United States world junior talent in town

Minnesota freshmen Mike Reilly and Brady Skjei were two of 27 players named to the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team Preliminary Roster this week. Reilly and Skjei will attend training camp at the New York Rangers' Madison Square Garden Training Center on Dec. 16-18 with an additional camp scheduled for Helsinki, Finland. USA Hockey will announce its final 23-man roster on Dec. 23 that will compete at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship on Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia.

Reilly, a 6-foot defenseman, entered Friday leading the Gophers' freshmen class with one goal and seven assists through 15 games and is a fourth-round selection (98th overall) of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Skjei, a 6-3 defender, was a first-round selection (22nd overall) of the Rangers in 2012 and has a goal and an assist this year. He was a healthy scratch Friday night.

A different goalie situation

While Colorado College continues to deploy its goalie tandem of Joe Howe and Josh Thorimbert, Minnesota has been riding the success of freshman goalie Adam Wilcox. Wilcox (9-2-2) was named the Hockey Commissioners Association National Division I Rookie of the Month for November after posting a 5-2-2 record last month.

The St. Paul, Minn., native leads the WCHA and is fifth nationally with a 1.61 goals-against average. Wilcox has allowed one goal or fewer in seven of his 14 games this season.

Rapuzzi streak continues

William Rapuzzi’s assist on Archie Skalbeck’s second-period goal Friday night extended his career-high and Colorado College team-high point streak to eight.

The senior captain then struck just over a minute later with a rebound goal off a Skalbeck shot for his ninth goal of the season with 3:22 left in the second.

Skalbeck’s seven-game streak earlier this season was the previous team-high.

WCHA standings update

Colorado College, in a three-way tie for fifth place in the WCHA, entered this weekend’s series against Minnesota two points behind the Gophers and St. Cloud State for second place. Minnesota and the Huskies are three points behind first place Denver. The Tigers travel to St. Cloud State for a two-game set next weekend.

Bring your teddys!

Saturday night’s game will be Colorado College’s annual Teddy Bear Toss. During the first intermission fans will be able to throw their new or gently used stuffed animals onto the ice which will be donated throughout the local area to needy children by Christmas United.

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