U.S. Nationwide Junior Group defenseman Patrick Sieloff has been on a little bit of a rollercoaster experience the final two weeks. As of per week in the past, the burly blueliner didn’t even know if he’d be in Ufa, Russia, for much longer.
As Group USA took the ice towards Germany in its World Junior Championship opener, Sieloff was watching from the stands. An damage problem with one of many different U.S. defensemen left the People in a bind with their last roster choices for the D corps. In consequence, the U.S. employees determined to take a little bit further time earlier than finalizing the roster. Sieloff, together with Boston College freshman Matt Grzelcyk, have been ready to search out out which one among them could be the final defenseman named to Group USA.
“That was in all probability one of many hardest issues I’ve needed to cope with in my hockey profession,” Sieloff admitted concerning the wait.
Earlier than the U.S. recreation towards Russia, Sieloff was notified that it was certainly him that might be the ultimate participant on Group USA’s World Junior roster. That revelation got here with combined feelings for the Calgary Flames second-round choose due to his shut private friendship with former Nationwide Group Growth Program teammate Grzelcyk.
“We knew that one among us was going,” Sieloff mentioned. “He’s one among my greatest pals already, however for us to undergo that collectively, it wasn’t straightforward, however we caught collectively and mentioned ‘No matter occurs, occurs. We each made it this far and we did our job and it’s simply their job now.’ That’s type of how we went about it.”
The present Windsor Spitfires reargaurd dressed because the seventh defenseman in video games towards Russia, Canada and Slovakia, however noticed his ice time improve because the match went on. A one-game suspension to Shayne Gostisbehere for the quarterfinal towards the Czech Republic meant Sieloff would have to be known as upon much more.
“It’s by no means good to have a participant go down, particularly to suspension, however when that occurs, gamers need to step up,” Sieloff mentioned.
With the shortened bench, Sieloff discovered himself reunited on a pairing with Jacob Trouba, a participant Sieloff had been teammates with all through youth hockey and on the NTDP the earlier two seasons.
“It’s good to get again with him,” Sieloff mentioned of teaming up together with his longtime buddy. “It’s been some time. It’s at all times good to have a participant like that in your facet.”
Sieloff, who’s from Ann Arbor, Mich., mentioned he felt fairly good about how he and Trouba performed collectively.
“We’re straightforward to learn off one another,” Sieloff mentioned. “We’ve performed for seven or eight years collectively, so a few months break up, it hasn’t been unhealthy in any respect. We play with different gamers now, however once we do get the possibility to play with one another, it simply will get again to regular, studying off one another and realizing how we play.”
Although it was tense for a couple of days there for Sieloff earlier than the match started, he’s taking advantage of his time in Ufa by doing no matter he’s requested.
“I knew coming in, if I used to be going to make this workforce, I wasn’t going to be a high man by any means, I used to be going to be a man that was simply doing what I do and taking part in my recreation,” he mentioned.
Taking part in his recreation may turn out to be useful within the rematch towards Canada on Thursday within the semifinals.
“These are the video games I look ahead to,” Sieloff mentioned. “Canada-U.S. is likely one of the largest rivalries on the market. It isn’t a toe-drag recreation, it isn’t a high-end talent recreation. It’s get the puck deep, who’s hitting essentially the most, who’s blocking photographs — and that’s the type of recreation I like.”
Despite the fact that it’s been a rollercoaster experience, it’s been properly value it for Sieloff.
“Wanting again proper now, it’s loopy, we’re a pair video games away from having the possibility to go for a medal,” he mentioned. “It’s superior.”
Story from Purple Line Editorial, Inc.