College hockey notes: D’Amigo added to U.S. roster

Wednesday was a good day for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute forward Jerry D’Amigo. The freshman fr
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Wednesday was a good day for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute forward Jerry D’Amigo.

The freshman from Binghamton received some good news from USA Hockey when he was named to its preliminary roster for the 2010 U.S. National Junior Team that will participate in a three-day pre-tournament training camp

Dec. 17-19 in Grand Forks, N.D. He then gave the Engineers a surprise when he participated in his first practice since injuring his right knee late in the first period against Union in last Saturday’s Rensselaer Holiday Tournament championship game.

D’Amigo, who came to RPI after playing for the U.S. National under-18 team last season, partic­ipated in the U.S. junior development camp in Lake Placid in August.

“I’m very excited,” D’Amigo said. “It’s an honor to be invited to that. It’s something I’ve been dreaming about. Being with the U.S. [under-18] team last year, it’s something I’m looking forward to.”

The training camp will be highlighted by an exhibition game against North Dakota Dec. 19. Following the camp, a reduced roster will be play the Czech Republic on Dec. 22 in Regina, Saskatchewan, in Team USA’s final exhibition game. Head coach Dean Blais and his staff will finalize the roster after that game.

The World Junior Championships will take place Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Saskatoon and Regina, Saskatchewan. If D’Amigo makes it, he will miss RPI’s games in the Great Lakes Invitational Dec. 29-30 in Detroit. But that is fine with RPI coach Seth Appert.

“He’s performed well for our country in big situations before,” Appert said. “It doesn’t surprise me at all. I know Dean Blais pretty well from when he was at North Dakota, and I know the kind of players and the kind of teams that he likes to have, and I think Jerry will be a great fit there.

“If I was a betting man, I’d have my money on him being on the final roster, as well.”

The preliminary diagnosis on D’Amigo’s knee was a sprained MCL. But D’Amigo, who was expected only to skate but not practice, went through the entire practice pain free.

“I felt good out there,” D’Amigo said. “It’s just like normal like I was the past week. There’s nothing to be worried about, I hope.”

D’Amigo described the injury.

“I was on the corner and chipped the puck in,” D’Amigo said. “The [Union defenseman] kind of clipped me, and I caught my edge in a rut. I twisted it a little bit. It was weird. I was on the ground, and I was like, ‘This kind of hurts. I’m not going to get up from this.’”

Obviously, D’Amigo was very worried.

“I’ve never had a knee injury,” D’Amigo said. “I got through it. I didn’t worry about it too much. I told myself I was going to work hard to get it back.”

Appert wasn’t expecting D’Amigo to practice.

“He keeps needling me, and letting me know how much he wants to play,” Appert said. “It says a lot about him. He knows he’s got a chance to make the World Junior team a couple of weeks down the line, but yet he really wants to get back in for [tonight’s] game here [against Cornell].”

Leblanc invited

Harvard freshman forward Louis Leblanc has been invited to skate in Canada’s National Junior Team sel­ection camp Dec. 12-16 in Regina.

Leblanc, a first-round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens in the June NHL draft, will be one of 36 players at the camp. He is tied for second on the Crimson in scoring with three goals and six assists in eight games.

Local update

Here’s a look at how college hockey players from the Capital Region did over the past week.

u Quinnipiac senior forward Mike Atkinson (Kinderhook) had a goal and an assist in the Bobcats’ 5-4 overtime win over Massachusetts last Saturday.

u RPI senior defenseman Laura Gersten (Queensbury) had the game-winning goal in the Eng­ineers’ 5-2 victory over Robert Morris last Friday.

Harvard woes

Harvard opened the season Oct. 30 with a 5-3 victory over Dartmouth, and that has been the highlight of the Crimson’s season.

The Crimson have gone winless in their last nine games (0-7-2). Their latest setback came Tuesday, when Brown goalie Mike Clemente frustrated them again. Clemente, who posted back-to-back shutouts against the Crimson in the first round of the ECACH tournament in March, stopped 42 shots in a 4-1 Brown victory at the Bright Hockey Center.

Harvard has the worst overall record among the 12 ECACH teams. The Crimson have lost seven straight games at Bright dating back to last season. On Sunday, they lost their first home game to Dartmouth since 1996.

And that was a non-conference game, which has been another problem. Harvard has lost 12 straight non-conference games, which include ECACH tournament games. The Crimson’s last non-conference victory was March 21, 2008, against Cornell in the ECACH tournament semifinal.

Tourney tickets

Tickets are on sale today for the final ECACH championships that will be played March 19-20 at the Times Union Center.

All-session passes are $48 for adults, and $24 for students. Individual session passes are $24 for adults, and $14 for students.

There will be a Family Zone behind each net. The adult cost is $20, and the children’s ticket is $5.

Group tickets (10 or more) will cost $38 adult all-session ticket, $17 for adult individual, $16 for student all-session ticket and $7 student individual.

A special $4 discount will be applied on all-session passes purchased now through Dec. 25th.

Tickets can be purchased by calling (800)-30-EVENT, logging onto www.timesunioncenter-albany.com or www.tickets.com, or by stopping by the Times Union Center Box Office.

The championships begin a three-year run in Atlantic City starting next season.

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