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University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks forwards make roster of U.S. World Junior team

GRAND FORKS -- Nick Schmaltz and Brock Boeser left for Finland on Saturday.They won't be coming back for a few weeks.The standout North Dakota forwards have made the final roster for the U.S. World Junior team and will represent their country in ...

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University of North Dakota’s Brock Boeser, left, lines up a shot toward the Bemidji State goal as BSU’s Phillip Marinaccio looks on during a game at Ralph Engelstad Arena. (FNS Photo by Nick Nelson)

GRAND FORKS - Nick Schmaltz and Brock Boeser left for Finland on Saturday.
They won’t be coming back for a few weeks.
The standout North Dakota forwards have made the final roster for the U.S. World Junior team and will represent their country in the event, which runs through Jan. 5, in Helsinki, Finland.
USA Hockey made its final two cuts early Wednesday morning - Boston University forward recruit Clayton Keller and Minnesota sophomore defenseman Ryan Collins - and announced the players it will keep in Finland.
Another notable selection is Moorhead (Minn.) High School graduate Will Borgen of St. Cloud State, a fast-riser who has put together a strong first semester of college hockey.
The World Junior Championship began Friday with the U.S. taking on rival Canada. There will be three other pool play games before the event gets to the quarterfinals.
Schmaltz and Boeser will miss UND’s nonconference series on Jan. 1-2 against Alabama Huntsville because of the tournament. They’ll also likely be held out of the Jan. 9 exhibition against the U.S. Under-18 team before returning for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference series against Omaha.
UND coach Brad Berry wasn’t surprised to see Schmaltz and Boeser on the final roster.
“I’m very happy and excited for them,” said Berry, who won a gold medal himself at the event. “The first thing in my mind was that it’s well deserved. They put the work in over the first half of this year to represent their country. I’m very happy for them and wish them luck throughout the tournament.”
Schmaltz and Boeser have teamed together with senior Drake Caggiula to form arguably the most potent line in college hockey this season.
Schmaltz leads the nation in assists (23) and plus-minus (plus-29). He has 26 points in the first half of the season, matching his total from last season.
Boeser leads all rookies with 13 goals this season, while his 21 points ranks third overall.
“I think Nick is one of the best players in college hockey,” Berry said. “It’s not only his offensive abilities, it’s his play away from the puck. I think his plus-minus reflects that. Brock has transformed his game from the USHL to college, which isn’t an easy thing to do.”
Boston University (three) and UND (two) are the only college teams with multiple players on the U.S. World Junior team.
The U.S. has won gold three times in the event and all three teams had UND players. In 2004, Zach Parise, Drew Stafford and Brady Murray were on the squad. In 2010, Danny Kristo was on the team. In 2013, Rocco Grimaldi scored two goals in the gold medal game.

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