Caps prospects roundup


Caps prospects roundup

By Ben Raby

Less than a month after Washington prospect Tom Wilson impressed Capitals management at the teams summer development camp, the 18-year-old is back in a competitive environment as part of the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge.

The Capitals first-round pick (16th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft is one of 56 junior-aged prospects taking part in the four-game series which saw the teams split the first two games in Yaroslavl, Russia, on Thursday and Friday.

Wilson was held off the score sheet Thursday as Canada beat Russia 3-2 and again on Friday in Russias 6-3 win that evened the series.

Despite being held without a point, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound bruising forward likely impressed Hockey Canadas coaching staff with his play on the teams fourth line. Wilson participated in numerous post-whistle scrums as the chippiness between the international rivals has grown throughout the series.

"We're going to have to address our discipline," Canadian head coach Steve Spott said. "This group is real physical. The challenge for us is going to be to continue to play physical but not cross a line where it's going to cost us penalties.

For what its worth, Wilson has brought the physicality, but has not yet put his team shorthanded. He has played primarily on Canadas fourth line along with fellow 2012 NHL draftees Lukas Sutter (39th overall, Winnipeg Jets) and Brendan Leipsic (89th overall, Nashville Predators).

The Canada-Russia Challenge now shifts to Halifax, Nova Scotia for Games Three and Four on Monday and Tuesday (both games at 7:00 p.m. ET).

The first two games of the series were played in Yaroslavl, Russia, as part of a tribute to Kontinental Hockey League team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

The KHL team was lost in a plane crash last September that killed 44 players and coaches, including former NHL defenceman Brad McCrimmon.

A little bit closer to home, five Caps prospects took part in USA Hockeys week-long National Junior Evaluation Camp which ended Saturday in Lake Placid, NY.

The camp featured junior-aged prospects from the United States, Finland and Sweden who competed throughout the week in a round-robin format.

The U.S. began the week with 45 junior hopefuls, including Washington prospects Travis Boyd, Connor Carrick, Thomas Di Pauli and Garrett Haar. While Carrick was one of 11 American cuts midway through the week, Boyd, Di Pauli and Haar remained for the entire eight-day camp.

Haar played in the maximum six games but did not register a point while Carrick finished with one assist in three games.

Up front, Boyd and Di Pauli were used primarily as third and fourth line forwards. They each appeared in five games total, with Boyd recording a goal and three points, while Di Pauli was held without a point.

With the international camp complete, Boyd (sophomore, University of Minnesota), Di Pauli (freshman, Notre Dame) and Haar (sophomore, Western Michigan) will all return to school, while Carrick will return to the Ontario Hockey Leagues Plymouth Whalers.

Last weeks National Junior Evaluation Camp also featured Washingtons first-round pick (11th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft Filip Forsberg of Team Sweden.

The defending World Junior champion Swedes won three of their four games in Lake Placid, with Forsberg recording a goal and four points.

Forsberg turns 18 on Monday and will now return to Europe for the start of his third season of professional hockey in Sweden.

Many of these junior aged prospects will then meet again for the 2013 World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia, from Dec.26 Jan.5.

Results from the 2012 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp are included below:

August 4USA White 5-USA Blue 2August 5USA Blue 4-USA White 3August 6USA Blue 5-Finland 4Sweden 5-USA White 1August 7Sweden 8-Finland 2August 8 USA 5-Finland 2August 9USA 10-Sweden 2August 10Sweden 5-Finland 2August 11Finland 3-USA 2 (OT)

Green scores again, US settles for 1-1 draw vs New Zealand

Green scores again, US settles for 1-1 draw vs New Zealand

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Julian Green scored his second goal in two matches, before Monty Patterson's equalizer forced the United States to settle for a 1-1 draw in an exhibition against New Zealand on Tuesday night.

Lynden Gooch made his U.S. debut as a second-half substitute in a match played exactly a month before the Americans face Mexico to open their final round of World Cup qualifying.

Goalkeeper William Yarbrough kept New Zealand scoreless over 45 minutes in his first international start and third overall appearance.

David Bingham couldn't do the same in the second half, though he could hardly be blamed for Patterson's strike.

After U.S. forward Jozy Altidore failed to clear a corner kick aimed at New Zealand's Michael Boxhall, Patterson popped up to thump the loose ball into the net from about 5 yards out.

The 21-year-old Green scored his third career goal for the U.S. despite being only on the fringes of the team over the past two years.

Green has made just five appearances since his first goal for the U.S., which came very late in overtime of a 2-1 second-round loss to Belgium in the 2014 World Cup.

But he earned an invite from coach Jurgen Klinsmann to camp after repeatedly making the 18-man roster for German power Bayern Munich.

After scoring the second goal in a 2-0 exhibition win at Cuba on Friday, Green put the U.S. ahead Tuesday in the 27th minute when he reached Altidore's knock-down header on the left flank.

Green dribbled to goal while defender Liam Graham retreated, cut to his right, and then fired a low, 18-yard shot that snuck between wrong-footed goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic and the left post.

Gooch, a 20-year-old who has appeared seven times this season for Sunderland of England's Premier League, came on in the 59th minute.

The California native - whose Irish mother and English father give him three international options - created several lively sequences on the right, drawing chants of ''Gooooch!'' from the announced crowd of 9,012 at RFK Stadium.

In the 64th minute, his cross found Green, who lofted a shot well high of the goal. And in the 89th, his corner found Omar Gonzalez, whose header also soared above the crossbar.

The U.S. continued to press, with Michael Bradley denied by Marinovic's diving stop in the 90th minute, and Gonzalez missing wide on another header in stoppage time.

With Heather O'Reilly set to retire, USWNT teammates honor all-time great

With Heather O'Reilly set to retire, USWNT teammates honor all-time great

As U.S. Women’s Soccer star Heather O’Reilly steps into international retirement Thursday night, her soon-to-be former teammates are jumping at the chance to honor O’Reilly one last time.

"She’s the best teammate I ever had,” said Ali Krieger, who has played alongside O’Reilly on the USWNT since 2008. “She’s such an inspiration for so many young athletes, but also for us – her current teammates and the players in the National Women’s Soccer League. She’s been a legend.”

O’Reilly will end her 15-year international career when the U.S. Women face Thailand in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday night.

“She’s motivated me and I know my teammates to want to better themselves every single day,” Krieger said of O’Reilly’s legacy on the national team. “That is something that she can leave us. I’m so happy for her, I’m really proud of her and she continued to inspire me every single day. I wish her all the best and I’m going to miss her like crazy.”

Of all O’Reilly’s teammates, few can appreciate the retiring legend quite like Krieger. The two often featured together on the right side of the U.S. formation, Krieger in defense and O’Reilly just ahead of her in midfield, resulting in a bond that will last beyond their playing days.

“We always say ‘right side – strong side’, so we’re going to hold on to that forever,” Krieger said with a smile. “She’s one of my best friends on the team and I support her decision.”

O’Reilly’s decision was likely made easier by the changing landscape of the national team. After seeing her minutes dwindle during last summer’s successful World Cup run, the 31-year-old veteran was left off the U.S. Olympic Team in August instead traveling to Brazil as an alternate.

Despite that, O’Reilly’s career compares favorably to pretty much every other U.S. international. O'Reilly made her senior international debut while still in high school, and her 230 appearances rank seventh all-time in U.S. Women’s National Team history. 

“It’s so much more than the player that she is and what she’s done for the national team,” said U.S. Women’s National Team forward Crystal Dunn. “It’s her – the person – that I’m going to miss seeing in camps and chatting it up.”

Though they didn’t overlap in Chapel Hill, both Dunn and O’Reilly played collegiately for North Carolina. Thanks to that Tar Heel connection, the duo trained together frequently even when not with the U.S. team.

“She was just one of those people that I looked up to,” Dunn added. “She would kick my butt every single day and I was so in awe that she would go out of her way to help make me better."

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