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Team USA Suffers 2-1 Loss to Canada In WJC Semifinals

LEKSAND, Sweden -- The United States lost to two-time defending champion Canada, 2-1, in a seven-round shootout in the semifinals of the 31st annual International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship here today.

Team USA played on 18 hours rest after it defeated Finland in quarterfinal action Tuesday evening, while top-seeded Canada hadn't played since New Year's Eve.

"We gave a gutsy effort," said U.S. Head Coach Ron Rolston (Fenton, Mich.). "I couldn't have asked our guys to do more. Their goaltender made some keys saves and our goaltending was just excellent as well. Our players can hold their heads high. They did everything we asked of them."

Team USA will play for the bronze medal Friday at 4 p.m. (10 a.m. EST) against host Sweden.

The teams fired 20 shots on goal in the opening period -- 11 by the United States -- but both goaltenders were solid. U.S. netminder Jeff Frazee (Edina, Minn./University of Minnesota) made a big save on a Steve Downie power-play attempt from the side of the goal midway through the period and also stopped Darren Helm on a shorthanded break late in the period.

Team USA got the only goal of the second period. It came at 5:04 on the power play when Taylor Chorney's (Hastings, Minn./University of North Dakota) pass from the bottom of the left circle across the crease intended for Nate Gerbe (Oxford, Mich./Boston College) hit Marc Staal's skate and deflected past Canadian netminder Carey Price. Frazee was again outstanding in goal. While Canada had only six shots, he made two huge stops in the period, including one in which he slid across to rob Bryan Little on a rebound of Downie's original attempt. Frazee also stoned Downie on a break down the right side with just more than four-and-a-half minutes to go in the period.

Canada tied the game on its fourth-straight power-play opportunity at 12:19 of the third period when Luc Bourdon's shot from the point sailed over the shoulder of Frazee. It was the only goal of the period.

In the 10-minute overtime, which was played with the teams skating four-on-four, Team USA dominated. The U.S. had a 12-2 shots advantage, including several great chances on a power play midway through. Perhaps Team USA's best chance came just after the power play expired when Erik Johnson (Bloomington, Minn./University of Minnesota) made a nifty backdoor pass to Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y./London) from the left point, but Kane's deflection from the side of the net went over the cage.

That set the stage for what turned into a dramatic seven-round shootout. After Canada's Downie and the United States' Kane were both stopped to start the shootout, Little gave Canada a 2-1 lead. Peter Mueller (Bloomington, Minn./Everett), however, tied the shootout, but Jonathan Toews put Canada ahead 3-2 forcing the U.S. to score. It did just that, thanks to Jack Johnson's (Ann Arbor, Mich./University of Michigan) blast to the stick side. Little failed in the fourth round, meaning a goal by the U.S. would send it to the gold-medal game. Kane made a slick move in front, but Price made a save that carried him partially back into his own net with the puck squeezed between his pads. Toews scored in the fifth round to give Canada the advantage, but Mueller went high under the cross bar to even the shootout again. Andrew Cogliano of Team Canada started the sixth round with a shot that beat Frazee low to the glove side, but again the U.S. answered as Jack Johnson put one up high on the stick side of Price to force a seventh round. Toews scored again, before Mueller's attempt to send the shootout to an eighth round was turned aside.

Frazee finished with 26 saves, while Price had 34 stops.

Friday's (Jan. 5) bronze-medal game can be heard live on usahockey.com with Jim Rich and Jeff Sauer. In addition, NHL Center Ice will provide live television coverage of the game in the United States.

NOTES: Jeff Frazee (Edina, Minn./University of Minnesota) was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... During the first intermission of the Sweden-Russia semifinal, the IIHF conducted a press conference to clarify the situation relating to Patrick Kane's second shootout attempt (4th round). The question centered around why the referee did not use video replay to review the play as it appeared Canada netminder Price may have carried the puck back over the goal line with him into the net. The IIHF said that the play was reviewed following the game and there was no evidence that showed the puck crossing the goal line ... The 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship features athletes under the age of 20 on international teams including the United States, Belarus, Canada, Germany, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland ... The U.S. National Junior Team is coming off a fourth-place finish at the 2006 World Junior Championship in Vancouver, British Columbia.
 

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Clark Commits to Play Division I Hockey

For the first time in franchise history, a member of the North Iowa Outlaws will dress to play NCAA Division I hockey. Goaltender Jay Clark committed on Wednesday night to play for the US Army Military Academy at West Point for the 2007-08 school year. Clark, a two year veteran for the Outlaws, will depart at the end of the season and before touching the ice in West Point, have to tackle the vagarious workouts of Basic Training.

"From what I have heard, all the athletes seem to handle it," Clark said. "Iit will tough but I get by."

Army has been after Clark for most of the season, but after talking with them Tuesday and visiting the campus, the decision was easy.

"It had a lot of everything I was looking," Jay added about the prestige of the school. They've got a D-I hockey program, and this is as good as a school academically as I could've hoped for. I'm getting the best of everything."

Coming in, Clark will have to battle for a starting job with a returning Junior, but Jays says he's up for the challenge.

"The first year is going to be tough to get playing time, their starter is pretty good," Clark added. "It's going to be a challenge and I'm just going to give my all everyday. I'm excited to take the next step in my career."

Clark boosts a 3-2-2 record in seven appearances this season with a goals against average of 2.99%. For Coach Dave Boitz and the Outlaws organization, the first ever commitment couldn't have gone to a better person.

"Jay is a great kid and we can't be happier for him," Boitz added. "He's a deserving and extremely hardworking individual and we know he will do great.

The Army Black Knights play in the Atlantic Hockey Conference. All commitments are verbal agreements until the signing period in April.
 

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Pierson commits to West Point

Alpena MI: The Alpena IceDiggers of the North American Hockey League announced today that second year forward Drew Pierson has committed to attend West Point for the 2006-2007 season.

"I am very happy for Drew and his family, he will represent our organization very well, said IceDiggers GM/Coach Kenny Miller. "This young man has worked very hard on and off the ice and deserves the opportunity to play at a great place like West Point."

The 20 year old Pleasant Prairie WI, native is 2nd on the team in scoring with 16 goals 26 assists for 42 points in 33 games. The veteran forward is tops in the NAHL with 12 powerplay goals. Pierson led Alpena in goals during his rookie season with 26 goals.

Pierson adds to the list of former IceDiggers who are currently playing hockey at the Division I level, Bret Norris (Canisius), Bobby Phillips (Mercyhurst), Eric Giosa (Sacred Heart), Paul Scalici (Bentley), Archie Dessert (U Conn) and Dan Peace (RPI).

The Alpena IceDiggers are in their 4th season as members of the NAHL.

The IceDigger organization wishes Drew the best of luck in his future at the collegiate level.
 

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Bobcats play tonight

Hey Bobcat Fans! Your Bobcats are on the ice tonight when they take on the Blizzard from Alexandria, Minnesota. We need your support so cheer hard and get loud! On Friday the Catz will re-match the Blizzard.

*On Friday come early as we are offering "happy hour" from 6:00-7:00 featuring 50 cent beers!!**

Spread the word and support your Bismarck Bobcats!
 

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Rudasill heads to Ohio State

Alpena MI: Alpena IceDiggers GM/Head Coach Kenny Miller is proud to announce that assistant captain Todd Rudasill has committed to the Ohio State University for the 2007 season.

"I am extremely excited for Todd and his family, it has been a dream of Todd's to play at Ohio State and now that has become a reality for him." said Kenny Miller

The Powell OH, native currently leads the NAHL in scoring with 57 points in 33 games this season. "Todd has worked hard to earn this and I am happy to see it pay off for him, he will add a scoring threat to the Buckeyes for the next for years." added Miller "Not only is Ohio State getting a great player they are also getting a great young man."

Rudasill becomes the second IceDigger to commit in as many days as veteran forward Drew Pierson announced his commitment to West Point on Wednesday.

Rudasill and Pierson join a host of former IceDiggers who are currently attending Division I schools. Bret Norris (Canisius), Dan Peace (RPI), Archie Dessert (U Conn), Paul Scalici (Bentley), Bobby Phillips (Mercyhurst) and Eric Giosa (Sacred Heart).
 

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Alpena in Toledo for exhibition

Alpena MI: The Alpena IceDiggers are playing tonight in exhibition game in Toledo Ohio versus the Toledo Cherokee of the CSHL, fans can listen to the game tonight at Welcome to the official site of the Toledo Cherokee Hockey Mick Gonzales.

The exhibition game will start at 7:00PM, all proceeds will go to a local charity. "We are excited about the chance to play in a game and help out a local charity, this is special for me to come home and help my hometown community and it also gives our guys a chance to play against one of the best teams in the CSHL, their history has proved that and it will be an entertaining game for all the fans of Toledo." said Head Coach Kenny Miller

The Cherokee are coached by former NHL player Iain Duncan who is also a close friend to Alpena coach Miller.

Netminder Justin Marzean (Alpena MI) will get the nod between the pipes for Alpena.

The IceDiggers will travel to Mahoning Valley on Friday for a two game set against the Phantoms Friday and Saturday. Both games start at 7:00PM and can be viewed at Mahoning Valley Phantoms. Ron Rinaldi will call all the action.

For more information please visit the IceDiggers website at Alpena IceDiggers Jr "A" Hockey.....Home or call the main office at (989) 356-9812.
 
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