Flyers prospect goaltender Anthony Stolarz will represent the United States at the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships in Sweden. He was named to USA Hockey's preliminary 26-man roster on Wednesday, but as one of just three goalies on the roster, he's all but certainly locked in on the team.
Stolarz, currently playing for the OHL's London Knights, will join Providence College goaltender Jon Gillies and Boston College goaltender Thatcher Demko as the three goaltenders heading to the tournament. Demko is just a freshman with the Eagles and is the youngest player on the 26-man roster, so he likely won't be playing much. That'll leave much of the work load to Gillies and Stolarz, and it's sort of up in the air as to who will wind up being the everyday starter during the tournament.
Gillies, a sophomore, has played 14 games with the No. 3/4 Friars so far this season. He's recorded a .945 save percentage in those games and is a big reason why Providence is one of the top teams in the nation this year.
Stolarz is having a similarly impressive year in the OHL. In 22 games, he's recorded a .929 save percentage, and the argument is to be made that the competition in the OHL is more fierce than that of the NCAA. Gillies and the Friars have only played one other ranked team thus far this season, so the competition edge certainly goes to Stolarz here if you're doing a direct comparison of their numbers in 2013-14.
But that's not necessarily what will seal the deal for either goalie. Gillies was on the team last year, playing behind John Gibson, the since-turned-professional Anaheim Ducks prospect who led the Americans to gold last year. Stolarz was left behind as the fourth goalie last year, so he doesn't have any experience in the U20 tournament. That likely gives Gillies the edge, but there's still a lot of hockey to be played this month and it could be anybody's game.
We were dumb yesterday and wrote that Union College defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere would be named to this team, but that's completely wrong because he's too old. He won gold last year though, so whatever. AMERICAN HERO.