Casey Mittelstadt and Team USA played their opening game of the World Junior Summer Showcase this summer afternoon as the United States look to replicate their success in last year’s tournament.
Team USA split it’s Summer roster up into two team’s as they play three preliminary games before conjoining the team’s into one and playing another three games. Sabres 1st round draft pick Casey Mittelstadt is on Team White.
Team USA defeated Team Finland 4-2. Casey Mittelstadt finished the game with 1 goal and 1 assist.
Sabres goaltending prospect and 2017 draftee’ Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was in the net for Finland and stopped 18/22 shots. Luukkonen was beat a few times up high but made multiple above average saves as well rounding out a solid game.
Although it’s a showcase game in the middle of Summer, Casey Mittelstadt stole the show and showed why he was a top 10 pick this summer and could eventually prove he should’ve went higher.
It didn’t take long for Mittelstadt to make his mark as he used his great hands in tight space to set up Chicago draft pick Evan Barratt just one minute into the game putting Team USA up 1-0.
Mittelstadt’s north style of hockey is one of the key assets to his game and he showed off his speed all game. He seemed to be the fastest player on the ice at times after taking the puck from his own zone and blowing through the neutral zone to enter the offensive zone and create a chance for himself or a teammate.
When asked what the best part of his game was, freshly drafted Mittelstadt said his vision and creativity. Those keys to the young star’s game were also on full display throughout the battle with Finland. Whether it was a sneaky pass to create a scoring opportunity, using a move or pass to expand offensive possession, or using creativity and shifty skating to create a zone entry, Mittelstadt’s creativity was on full display
The next play was the one that absolutely doesn’t go un-noticed. Mittelstadt was already having a nice game but proceeded taking a nice pass springing him on a breakaway and roofing a backhand top shelf passed Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.
Casey Mittelstadt had a great showing and fans will want to keep an eye on him until he’s in the Red White and Blue in Buffalo in the Winter for the World Juniors. Mittelstadt and Team White play again tomorrow evening at 4PM and the full showcase schedule for Team USA can be found here: http://teamusa.usahockey.com/2017wjss