Today at the World Jr A Challenge the semi finals take place with USA vs Russia and Canada West vs Czech Republic. USA advanced with a win over the Swiss, while Canada West took out Canada East in overtime last night.
We spoke to two NHL Draft eligible prospects from team USA after their game yesterday. What Tyler Madden lacks in physical maturity, he makes up with his hockey sense and skill. Madden has a ways to go as far as getting bigger and stronger but he is a smart player who flashes skill. He told us that he wants to continue to work on his shot and improve his skating even more. He told us that he’s well aware that his lack of strength makes things a bit more difficult for him right now versus some of the bigger ad stronger players but he will continue to try to work towards getting as strong as possible. Madden was also just traded to Tri-City (USHL) for forwards Michael Maloney and Caleb Rule and a 2018 2nd Round USHL Phase II Draft Pick.
Blake McLaughlin plays for the Chicago Steel and he’s having a very good season thus far. Blake has 8 goals and 13 assists in 17 games. He told us that felt his vision and hockey sense were strengths in his game. Both McLaughlin and Madden commented that they felt the pace of the play in the Junior A Challenge was similar to the pace they play at in the USHL. We asked both players if they were surprised by the Canada West team who put them on their heals early and if the coaches made any adjustments. Both players thought the home crowd was a factor and that the coaches made some changes to their D-zone coverage after the first period.
USA will need to be on their game today versus a young but talented Russina team that won their two previous games 5-2 versus Canada East and 3-2 over a hard working Swiss squad.