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2014 World Junior Championship: Matt Grzelcyk Shows Offensive Flare from Blue Line for USA

Matt Grzelcyk
Matt Grzelcyk
Bruce Bennett

Malmo, Sweden -- Matt Grzelcyk was the last player cut from the United States team before the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia. The Boston Bruins prospect and Boston University defenseman even made the trip overseas, but was sent home prior to the tournament.

It was an experience that gutted him, but he had a positive spin on it and cheered on his teammates as they captured the Gold Medal.

Fast forward to this year and the Charlestown, Mass. native is the leading scorer for the Americans and is the top blue liner in scoring. The red, white and blue have yet to be seriously challenged, but Grzelcyk has been the key to the USA's transition game.

The United States is 3-0 on the tournament after Sunday's 8-0 thrashing of Germany and will next face Canada on New Year's Eve.

Grzelcyk isn't on pace to match his freshman year's point total at Boston University, but he has shown he still has the flare for the dramatic in the offensive zone. There will always be questions about his play in his own end, but his vision and skating ability have been impressive in this tournament.

It has been a good tournament for current and future Terriers. All three, Grzelcyk, Danny O'Regan and Jack Eichel, scored a goal in Saturday's 6-3 victory over Slovakia.

Eichel, a recruit from Chelmsford currently playing for the US National Development Program, has also stood out for being an underaged player and not being out of place. He has a goal and three assists over the three games.

O'Regan, a San Jose Sharks prospect, has scored just one goal in the tournament.

In addition to the three players with BU ties, five other current Hockey East players are on the roster for the Americans, including a trio from Commonwealth Ave. rival Boston College. Freshmen defensemen Steve Santini and Ian McCoshen have both played well, especially the latter's shutdown ability in his own zone. Fellow Eagles rookie Thatcher Demko is the third goaltender.

Notre Dame freshman Vince Hinostroza is tied for second on the team in scoring with three goals and two assists.

Providence sophomore and Calgary Flames draft pick Jon Gillies started the first two games before getting the day off against the Germans. His continued ability to make key saves will decide how far Don Lucia's US squad can go in the tournament.

Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.