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Can UND’s Mismash use World Junior snub as fuel for rest of season?

University of North Dakota's Matt Kierstad (3) and Grant Mismash celebrate Mismash's goal during the Fighting Hawks’ game against Manitoba last season. photo by Eric Hylden / Forum News Service

GRAND FORKS -- Grant Mismash has already gone through this.

Last season, he was somewhat surprisingly left off of USA’s World Junior Championship roster.

Prior to the World Junior announcement, Mismash was averaging .82 points per game (14 points in 17 games).

After learning he was left off the World Junior team, Mismash averaged .38 points per game (eight points in 21 games) for the rest of the season.

Once again, on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 5, USA Hockey revealed that Mismash did not make its World Junior Championship roster. The University of North Dakota sophomore will not play for his country at the under-20 tournament later this month in Vancouver.

But this time, the Fighting Hawks hope he can use that as fuel for the rest of the season.

“It’s one of those things where they made a decision for whatever roles they want guys to be in,” UND coach Brad Berry said. “For Grant, it’s more so about him continuing to develop as a player, which he has here. You control the things you can control, the things within your reach. He was a part of USA Hockey for a couple of years and he’s probably disappointed, but it’s one of those things where you now move on to our team and try to win a national championship.

“Life is full of these things -- peaks and valleys. It’s how you respond. And he’s done it the right way. He’s practiced extremely hard this week.”

Mismash, a second-round pick of the Nashville Predators, has five goals and nine points in 15 games for No. 14 UND, which hosts No. 6 Denver at 7:37 p.m. Friday and 7:07 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7-8, in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Although the UND coaching staff was hoping Mismash would be on the World Junior team, they’re also happy that they’ll have him in the lineup for a critical series at Canisius on Jan. 4-5.

“It’s a point in time as far as an age group,” Berry said. “That’s not to say Grant won’t make another USA team at another point in time. Now, it’s about focusing on how to be a better player so next time, you do get picked. And having him against Canisius is huge. I feel like with him in our lineup, he brings another element offensively.”

USA coaches saw Scheel at his best

Adam Scheel did not make the roster, either, despite a couple of eye-opening performances in from of the U.S. coaching staff this season.

He started one game against MSU-Mankato head coach Mike Hastings, who also is Team USA’s head coach. Scheel won that game 4-3. It is one of two MSU-Mankato losses this season.

Scheel also made three appearances with USA assistant coach Scott Sandelin watching. Sandelin, the head coach at Minnesota Duluth, saw Scheel stop 59 of 60 shots in those three appearances.

During the Bulldogs’ off week, Sandelin visited The Ralph on Nov. 2 to watch UND play Wisconsin. Scheel posted a 24-save shutout that night.

Last weekend, Scheel stopped 35 of 36 shots against Sandelin’s Bulldogs. Scheel made seven saves in relief on Friday and stopped 28 shots in a 2-1 UND win on Saturday.

UND fans to see Rowe?

One of the goalies that Team USA will bring to the World Juniors is U.S. Under-18 star Spencer Knight.

Knight will miss the U.S. Under-18 game on Dec. 29 against UND.

That means UND fans may get to see their future goalie, Cam Rowe.

Rowe, the other goalie on the U.S. Under-18 team, figures to play in that exhibition game against the Fighting Hawks along with Grand Forks native Judd Caulfield.

Rowe, who will come to campus in either the fall of 2019 or 2020, could be drafted as high as the second or third round in June’s draft.

JBD to leave Monday

UND defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker will leave for Canada’s World Junior selection camp on Monday after participating in the Fighting Hawks series against Denver.

Canada is bringing 12 defensemen to camp. The Canadians are expected to cut five of them.

Bernard-Docker, who has nine points in 15 games, is a first-round pick of the Ottawa Senators.

“It’s obviously a huge honor,” Bernard-Docker said. “It’s a pretty prestigious tournament and something I watched growing up as a kid. With that being said, I’ve got two games here to focus on before I head on over to Victoria (B.C.).”

Canada’s camp is scheduled Tuesday through Friday. The World Junior tournament is scheduled for Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Vancouver and Victoria.

If Bernard-Docker makes the team, he’ll miss UND’s series at Canisius.

Six recruits make Challenge

Six UND recruits will compete in the World Junior A Challenge, which begins this weekend in Alberta.

Forward Shane Pinto, defenseman Mitchell Miller and defenseman Ethan Frisch of Moorhead will play for Team USA.

Forward Harrison Blaisdell, forward Massimo Rizzo and defenseman Luke Bast will play for Canada West.

Five of the six players are eligible for the NHL Draft in June. Miller isn’t eligible until 2020.

The World Junior A Challenge will go from Sunday to Dec. 16.