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All three Bulldogs make final US roster for World Juniors

Dylan Samberg (4) of Minnesota Duluth shoots the puck against Notre Dame during the national championship game April 7 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Clint Austin / Forum News Service

DULUTH — Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin will be joined by three of his own players when the 2019 World Junior Championship gets underway Wednesday, Dec. 26, in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.

Sophomore defenseman Mikey Anderson and Dylan Samberg, as well as freshman forward Noah Cates, all made the final 2019 U.S. National Junior Team roster that was announced Sunday morning, Dec. 23, following a 6-2 pre-tournament win over the Czech Republic in Langley, B.C.

The U.S. opens the preliminary round at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday against Slovakia in Victoria.

For the Roseville, Minn.-native Anderson and Hermantown-native Samberg, this will be their second World Juniors having won a bronze medal with Team USA last year in Buffalo, N.Y. This will be the first World Juniors for Cates, the native of Stillwater, Minn.

Sandelin is an assistant coach for Team USA under Minnesota State-Mankato coach Mike Hastings. Their two teams will square off at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the opening game of the Desert Hockey Classic in Glendale, Ariz.

The three Bulldogs and their coach, as well as the Mavericks’ Hastings’ will miss this week’s Desert Hockey Classic, which also features host Arizona State and Clarkson at the home of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, Gila River Arena.

A year ago the Bulldogs had five players at the World Juniors in Buffalo, leaving them short one defenseman for the start of the Ledyard Bank Classic in Hanover, N.H. UMD finished the tournament with four defenseman after one was ejected, but still won the tournament, beating host Dartmouth in the final in a shootout.

The three Bulldogs are among five from the NCHC on the final 23-man USA roster along with St. Cloud State junior forward Ryan Poehling of Lakeville, Minn., making his second World Juniors and Western Michigan freshman defenseman Mattias Samuelsson making his debut.

There are five Minnesotans on the final roster with Wisconsin freshman defenseman K’Andre Miller of St. Paul also making his debut this year.

Minnesota Gophers freshman forward Sammy Walker, the 2018 Mr. Hockey Award winner from Edina, was one of the final cuts and will available to play for his college team versus Ferris State next weekend in Minneapolis. Walker, who leads all Gophers rookies with four goals and six assists after his first 15 games, was a healthy scratch from Team USA's exhibition win on Saturday night.