For the second year in a row, the Carolina Hurricanes have a young player excelling on the international stage after just one season in the National Hockey League.
Last year it was Jeff Skinner. Though his production ultimately dropped off, Skinner quickly jumped out to the scoring lead among World Championship participants with 5 points (3g, 2a) in just two games in the summer of 2011.
This year, it’s 20-year-old defenseman Justin Faulk, who is the youngest player on the American squad.
Through Tuesday’s games, Faulk ranks tied for first among all tournament defensemen in points with 4 (1g, 3a). In three games, he is a plus-4, ranking tied for second among all tournament players. He’s averaging 19:45 of ice time per game, just about three minutes shy of his average from the 2011-12 season.
Faulk’s first-period goal on Monday – a point blast that’s not unfamiliar to those who’ve followed his play this season – brought the United States within a goal of Slovakia, though they ultimately dropped the game 4-2. He racked up all three of his assists in Team USA’s 7-2 victory over France.
The Hurricanes also have four other representatives playing in the tournament, and here’s what they’ve done through five days of preliminary action:
A first-time Team USA member, Patrick Dwyer may only be averaging just over 10 minutes of ice time per game, but he is contributing in a big way. Before Tuesday, he had scored the tournament’s only shorthanded goal, a wrap-around that he was able to stuff under Hurricanes' teammate Cam Ward's right pad. Dwyer added an assist that game and is plus-1 in the tournament.
Ward is 1-1 in two starts for Team Canada. He’s made 60 saves on 67 shots (.895 save percentage), and he faced 46 shots in Saturday’s game against Team USA alone.
Skinner leads Team Canada in shots with 15. He’s recorded one goal in three games, the lone tally coming against Team USA in which his wrist shot from the right circle smoked past Jimmy Howard.
An alternate captain for Team Finland, Jussi Jokinen recorded his first points of the tournament on Tuesday against Switzerland, as he assisted on two goals en route to his team’s 5-2 win over the Swiss. Jokinen ranks second on the Finnish squad with 10 shots on goal through three games.
Team Canada will face off with the Swiss National Team at 1:15 p.m. EST on Wednesday. Team USA’s next tilt is at 9:15 a.m. EST on Thursday against Belarus. That game, and all the other U.S. games, can be seen live on NBC Sports Network. Team Finland will play the French National Team at 1:15 p.m. EST on Thursday.
Preliminary round play will wrap up on Tuesday, May 15. Quarterfinal play takes place on May 17, followed by the semifinals two days later. The bronze and gold medal games take place on Sunday, May 20. Regardless of whether Team USA is in the semifinals or the medal games, NBC Sports Network will air at least once semifinal game, the bronze medal game and the gold match-up (on tape delay).
As we continue to keep you up to speed on all the happenings across the pond, stay plugged in with our Twitter accounts and keep an eye out for another update around this time next week as the preliminary round wraps up.
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