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Gophers Hockey: Mike Reilly and Brady Skjei make Team USA World Juniors preliminary roster

The two University of Minnesota freshmen defensemen were among the 27 players selected while a third Gopher, sophomore forward Travis Boyd, was left off the list.

University of Minnesota freshman Mike Reilly
University of Minnesota freshman Mike Reilly
Bruce Bennett

USA Hockey has named their 27 man preliminary roster for the 2013 World Junior Championships Tuesday morning and it includes two University of Minnesota freshmen defensemen.

Both Mike Reilly (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Brady Skjei (New York Rangers) have been invited to the December 16-18 training camp in Lake Placid, New York. The 27 will be cut down to 23 before the WJC begins December 26 in Ufa, Russia and runs through January 5.

According to a conference call with USA Hockey today, all Team USA games will air live on NHL Network

Skjei, who spent two years playing in the US National Development Program, has scored two points in 14 games for the Gophers. Reilly, meanwhile, leads all Minnesota freshmen with 8 points (1G-7A) and has played a role on the team's power play. Both are puck-moving defensemen who utilize their skating and are among a number of others with similar traits. Mike in particular is likely fighting for a spot on the roster but it's possible that both could be.

A third Gopher, sophomore Travis Boyd (Washington Capitals), was among the 46 players invited to the National Junior Evaluation Camp in August. However, he did not make the cut despite being a name tossed about as a fourth-line center or 13th forward. Not being invited doesn't mean Boyd's chances

In addition to Skjei and Reily, Minnesota assistant coach Grant Potulny will be doing the same for Team USA; assisting Minnesota native Phil Housley. Notre Dame freshman Mario Lucia (Minnesota Wild) was also named to the preliminary list despite missing the first six weeks of the season with a broken leg.

For more University of Minnesota coverage, check out The Daily Gopher. You can also find NCAA coverage at Western College Hockey and SB Nation's NHL Hub.

Follow Nate on Twitter @gopherstate

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.