Dec. 25, 2012
Colorado Springs, Colo. - University of Notre Dame freshman Mario Lucia (Plymouth, Minn.) has been selected to the 24-man U.S. Junior National Hockey team that will compete in the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia. The tournament runs from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, 2013.
Lucia made the final cut after attending USA Hockey's training camp from Dec. 16-18 at Tarrytown, N.Y. and then in Helsinki, Finland from Dec. 19-23. The Irish freshman left wing and his teammates will begin play at 9:00 a.m. (EST) on Thursday, Dec. 27 when they face Germany to open the tournament. All of the U.S. games can be seen on the NHL Network live and also on the Internet at NHL.com.
Lucia played in one of Team USA's two exhibition games - the Dec. 20 game versus Finland - assisting on a goal that gave the U.S. a 2-1 lead in a game they would win, 3-2, in overtime. The United States team has to trim one more player from the roster by Christmas as they await the injury status of one of the team's defensemen.
The U.S. will look to earn its third medal in four years after capturing the gold medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship in Saskatoon, Sask., and the bronze medal at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y.
The 6-3, 193-pound left wing becomes the 16th Notre Dame player to participate in the World Junior Championships as he follows current teammates, juniors Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.) and T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.), who played on the 2012 team that finished seventh last January in Calgary, Alta.
Lucia has been on a hot streak for the Irish since returning to the lineup on Nov. 15 after missing the first nine games of the season with a broken leg suffered in preseason training (Aug. 29). In nine games since returning, he has five goals and five assists for 10 points with three of his goals coming on the power play. He is +4 in those nine games and is currently on a five-game point streak with four goals and four assists for eight points since Nov. 30.
A second-round selection, 60th overall by the Minnesota Wild in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Lucia played last season in the British Columbia Hockey League for the Penticton Vees. There, he was second in scoring with 42 goals and 52 assists for 94 points in 56 games and was the Interior Division's Rookie of the Year. He helped lead Penticton to the BCHL championship and then the RBC Cup title as the top junior team in Canada.
While Lucia is playing on hockey's world stage in Russia, his teammates are on Christmas break, as the Irish don't return to action again until Tues., Jan. 8 at Minnesota.
Notre Dame Participants In The IIHF World Junior Championships