Bulldogs Better Prepare To Lose Four To World Junior Championship This Winter

Minnesota Duluth’s four participants in last week’s World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Mich. gave head coach Bob Motzko and the rest of USA Hockey a lot to think about going into the college hockey season.

The showcase wrapped up Saturday with all four Bulldogs — sophomore forwards Joey Anderson and Riley Tufte and freshmen defensemen Dylan Samberg and Mikey Anderson — playing in the 7-5 victory over Canada.

Joey Anderson, the older brother of Mikey Anderson, finished the showcase with four goals and an assist in five games, with three goals and the assist coming Saturday against Canada. Joey Anderson was on the U.S. team that won gold at last year’s World Juniors.

Tufte posted two goals and two assists in six games. Samberg, of Hermantown, had a goal and three assists while finishing plus-2. Mikey Anderson had no points in five games, but finished plus-5.

The week-long camp and series of exhibitions put on by USA Hockey was meant to help set the stage for the 2018 World Junior Championship Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Buffalo, N.Y. Ultimately, players will lock up a spot on the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team in the fall and early winter, according to Motzko, who is also the head coach at St. Cloud State.

“The camp here is just part of the process,” Motzko said last week in a phone interview with the News Tribune. “We’re building the basement of the house right now. It’s not the sexy, fun part that you get to see. Where it really starts to take shape is October, November and December. This just gives us a great feel as a staff of the direction we’re heading and where we are at.”

If you’re looking for an early prediction of the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team roster, ESPN Insider’s Corey Pronman tweeted one out on Sunday and it includes all four Bulldogs.

Should Anderson, Anderson, Tufte and Samberg make Team USA for the World Juniors, UMD would be without the foursome for just the Ledyard Classic at Dartmouth Dec. 29-30. The Bulldogs wrap up the first half of the season Dec. 8-9 at Nebraska-Omaha and then have the first weekend in January off before traveling to Colorado College.

Photo: Team USA forward Riley Tufte (15) out of Minnesota Duluth scores in the second period against Sweden on Wednesday during the 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich. Photo courtesy of USA Hockey