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Team USA Releases Jeremy Bracco and Cole Cassels

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Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The US World Junior team won their final exhibition game before the tournament begins tonight, a very convincing 10-5 blowout victory over Sweden.

Immediately following the game, the US announced the final two forwards to be cut from the team: NTDP U18 forward Jeremy Bracco, and OHL forward Cole Cassels.

Bracco faced an uphill battle towards making the roster as a younger player, and also a smaller player, but he performed quite well, picking up points in the first two US exhibition games(I haven't seen a full box score for the Sweden game, but with 10 goals, he's probably on there at least once too). Ultimately though, it appears the US wasn't willing to with a smaller, offensive-minded player on one of their lower lines.

Cassels was another bubble player that played well, but with the US deep at center, he had a tough time finding a spot in the line-up. We speculated earlier this week that the final center spot would be between Cassels and Chase De Leo and it appears as though De Leo won out.

The US now only has one more cut to make before the start of the tournament on the blue line. That decision will hinge on the health of defenseman Steve Santini, who did not play in the final exhibition game against Sweden tonight.