Coming soon to a television (and Internet) near you: the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships, starring Buffalo Sabres prospect and University of Wisconsin defenseman Jake McCabe as Captain America.
The 19-year-old defenseman is appearing in his first World Junior Championships, but has previous experience with the U.S. National Team Development Program and also played in the U-18 World Championships in 2011.
McCabe is in his sophomore season with the University of Wisconsin Badgers; last year as a freshman, he scored three goals and nine assists in 26 games overall – including eight points in 19 WCHA matches. He missed ten games with a hand injury early in the season.
Prior to that, McCabe won a gold medal in the 2011 IIHF U-18 World Championships and skated with the U.S. National Under-18 Team and NTDP U-17 team.
He also won gold at the 2010 U17 World Hockey Challenge and participated in 2009 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament - so representing his native land in an international competition isn’t exactly new to the Eau Claire native, who was drafted 44th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 2012.
This season, McCabe has two goals, seven assists and 18 shots in 16 games with the Badgers. Both of his goals have come on the power play, and he also has two power play assists – tied for first on the team in power play points.
He’s third on the team in shots, fourth in goals, and second in assists behind Derek Lee. McCabe’s 18 penalty minutes are also second on the Badgers, behind another former Team USA captain, John Ramage.
Prior to this season, McCabe was one of several players invited to USA Hockey’s National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, a prelude to his later being named to the preliminary roster for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships.
Upon roster cuts being made on December 23, McCabe not only made the team but was named captain. Cole Bardreau, Seth Jones, J.T. Miller and Jacob Trouba will split duties as the alternate captains in the tournament, which opens on December 26 with the USA’s first game coming the following day.
McCabe captains a team looking for its third medal in four years. The USA squad failed to medal last year, but won a bronze medal at the 2011 tournament and a gold medal in 2010.
The United States team played two exhibition games prior to the start of the official tournament; they defeated Sweden 3-2 in overtime on December 20 before dropping a 5-1 decision to Finland two days later.
Team USA’s preliminary schedule for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships is as follows:
• GAME #1: USA vs. Germany — 12/27 — 9 a.m. EST
• GAME #2: USA vs. Russia — 12/28 — 9 a.m. EST
• GAME #3: USA vs. Canada — 12/30 — 4:30 a.m. EST
• GAME #4: USA vs. Slovakia — 12/31 — 5 a.m. EST
The 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships begin on December 26 with four games and conclude with the gold medal game on January 5. A full schedule with information about all teams can be found at the IIHF site here.