Team USA World Championship Primer

Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 12:00 AM
Cory Wright

Three Islanders were enlisted by USA Hockey to capture World Championship gold for the first time since 1960, as the IIHF World Championship begins Friday in Belarus.

Colin McDonald, Brock Nelson and Matt Donovan will don the red, white and blue for Team USA at the annual spring tournament, taking place in Minsk this year. Nelson and Donovan have both represented the United States at the World Juniors, while McDonald is set to make his international debut. The Islanders trio is joined by NHLers including former Vezina winner Tim Thomas, Nashville Predators defenseman Seth Jones, Calder Trophy nominee Tyler Johnson and Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader.

Click here for the full USA roster.

The Americans are looking to build off of a 2013 bronze performance in 2013, their first medal since capturing bronze in 2004.

The Americans enter the tournament ranked sixth in the world by the IIHF and are one of the top three teams – along with Finland and Russia – in Group B. Latvia, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Germany and Belarus round out the competition in Group B.

Team USA opens the tournament on Friday, May 9 against the host nation at 1:45 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Network. The preliminary action continues the next day, as Team USA faces off against Team Switzerland at 1:45 p.m. EST.

Fans should circle Monday on their World Championship calendars, as Team USA continues their storied rivalry with Team Russia at 1:45 p.m. EST. The preliminary round ends with games against Latvia (Thursday, 9:45 a.m.), Kazakhstan (Friday 9:45 a.m.), Finland (Sunday, 9:45 a.m.) and Germany (Tuesday, 5:45 a.m.). All games will be broadcast on NBCSN.

Pokka Named to Team Finland
Islanders prospect Ville Pokka was named to Team Finland for the World Championship. Pokka, the Islanders second-round pick (34th overall) in the 2012 draft, won gold at the World Junior Championships in January. The Tornio, Finland native scored one goal and three assists in the tournament and led all defensemen with a plus-seven rating.

Pokka had a stellar year in the Finnish Liiga, setting career-highs in games (54), assists (21), points (27) and plus/minus (+32) in his third season with Kärpät. The 19-year-old added 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 16 playoff games.

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