UConn men’s ice hockey forward Tage Thompson was chosen as the Gatorade player of the game against in Team USA's 5-2 win over Slovakia in the World Juniors Hockey Championship, displaying the skills that make him one of the most exciting young players.
“He’s playing now against people his own age. For the last two years he’s been playing against 23- and 24-year-olds in college. That’s a big difference. He’s showing what a great player he is,” said UConn’s coach Mike Cavanaugh as reported by the Hartford Courant.
After two games in the tournament, Team USA ,who shares group B with Canada, Russia, Slovakia and Latvia, is second in the group with nine points, 14 goals scored and five goals against.
Thompson, the first Husky to represent Team USA, is one of the most dynamic players on the team. He had two assists in the opener against Latvia and a stunning goal against Slovakia. Thompson wasn’t a starter but whenever he was on the ice he made a lot of noise.
In the second period, Miami University forward Jack Roslovic squeezed by the Slovak defense to find Boston University Kieffer Bellows in the middle - who quickly moved to assist Thompson for the goal.
Thompson spun in front of the net, backhand to forehand, dragging the puck from the left side to shoot and make the game 3-1.
“I think offense is our big strength. I think we got a lot of forward who are strong down-low, belong the goal-line,” said Thompson in an interview for the NHL network after the game.
For UConn fans Thompson's success is not surprise. Thompson regularly puts on great performance that have made UConn a dangerous team in Hockey East. Halfway through the season, Thompson leads the Huskies in points (20) and goals (12).
“It doesn’t surprise me. He continues to grow physically and mentally as a player,” Cavanaugh said as reported by the Hartford Courant.
Adam Huska, the other Husky in the World Junior was in the sidelines for Slovakia after he allowed five goals in their home opener against Canada. Huska had 39 saves in the game and kept Canada from scoring in the first period of the game, and added a 22-save performance in Slovakia's 4-2 win over Latvia on Dec. 30.
Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.