Photo Courtesy: Fox Sports
Team USA finds itself in the semifinal World Junior Hockey Championship, where it will take on undefeated Russia on Monday.
Between a Valley-native, a son of a former Coyote star, and two players in the team’s system, the Grand Canyon State has had a big influence on this year’s roster
Scottsdale-native Auston Matthews, who many believe will be the top pick in the upcoming NHL Draft, has a tournament-leading seven goals. Matthews led the charge for Team USA in the 7-0 dismantling of Czech Republic with a hat trick. Matthews has the chance to tie and take the tournament record for goals scored, which is held by former Coyote Jeremy Roenick, who scored eight goals in 1989.
Speaking of former Coyotes, Matthew Tkachuk, son of the first captain of the Phoenix Coyotes, Keith Tkachuk, has impressed as well. The legacy ‘Yote has two goals and a team-leading six assists in the tournament. Tkachuk is considered a top prospect in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Coyote prospect Christian Dvorak, who plays with Tkahuk on the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League, is among the best in plus-minus in the tournament with a rating of plus-six when on the ice. Dvorak also played on the Knights with current Coyote Max Domi.
Ryan MacInnis, who is also in the Coyotes system, has an assist in the tournament. Like Tkachuk, the 43rd overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft has NHL bloodlines. Ryan’s father, Al MacInnis, is a former member of the St. Louis Blues.
Should the U.S. get past Russia on Monday, they will play the winner of Sweden and Finland in the tournament final. Regardless of how the rest of the tournament unfolds, the state of Arizona has been well-represented by these four players.