Alba di Canazei, Italy - Jon Feavel (North Pole, Alaska/Iowa State University) and Gehrett Sargis (Midlothian, Ill./Robert Morris University) scored and Team USA held a 37-25 advantage in shots on goal, but the U.S. Men's National University Team fell to Russia, 6-2, in the bronze medal game at the 2013 Winter World University Games today.
"It was a difficult way to end the tournament, but we're proud of what this team accomplished," said Scott Balboni, head coach of the 2013 U.S. Men's National University Team. "We had a strong group of players that worked hard every single time they stepped foot on the ice. It's a pretty special thing to represent the United States and USA Hockey on the international stage."
Team Russia built a 3-0 lead before the midway point of the opening period, but Feavel managed to pull the U.S. within two before the end of the first stanza when he scored an unassisted, even-strength goal at 18:43.
The Russians added two more markers in the middle frame to increase the lead to 5-1 after two periods, and then made it 6-1 at 13:39 of the third stanza. Sargis recorded Team USA's second goal at 15:53 when he found the back of the net on a power play. Brian McGinty (Bethel Park, Pa./Arizona State University) and Jordan Young (Cave Creek, Ariz./Arizona State University) were credited with assists on the play.
U.S. goaltender Matt Cooper (Duluth, Minn./Iowa State University) stopped 19 shots in the contest.
Despite the loss, the fourth-place finish at the 2013 Winter World University Games is the highest U.S. finish ever. Entering the tournament, Team USA's best mark was a sixth-place finish in 2011.
Notes: Twelve states were represented on the U.S. roster. Michigan led the way with seven players, while Illinois had three and Arizona, Minnesota and New York each had two. Seven other states -- Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- all had one ... Arizona State University led all schools with five players on the U.S. roster, while Adrian College had three and Iowa State University, Lindenwood University and Stony Brook University all had two representatives ... Scott Balboni (State College, Pa.), who served as head coach of the Penn State University men's ice hockey team from 2006-11, was the head coach of the 2013 U.S. Men's National University Team after having previously served as an assistant for the 2009 and 2011 teams. Sean Hogan (Tucson, Ariz.), head coach of the men's ice hockey team at the University of Arizona, and Dan Phelps (Livonia, Mich.), head coach of Adrian College's men's ice hockey team, served as assistant coaches. Phelps was an assistant coach with Balboni during the 2011 Games ... The United States fielded a men's ice hockey team in the Winter World University Games for the seventh straight time. Team USA finished sixth in the 2011 Winter World University Games ... The U.S. Men’s National University Team trained with The Hockey IntelliGym, a revolutionary software-based cognitive trainer, that develops and enhances hockey sense. To learn more, visit USAHockeyIntelliGym.com.
For the last 15 years, Ian Walsh has crisscrossed the United States as an NHL official. In this Part 2 of our conversation with Walsh, the 42-year-old Philadelphia native fielded a series of questions discussing life on the road, his conditioning schedule, mentors, on-ice struggles, the evolution of the game and advice for aspiring officials.
USA Hockey: How do you think you've been able to maintain all of the officiating success you've had over the last 15 years?
Ian Walsh: I believe one of my strengths as an official is my work ethic. I come to the rink every night ready to work hard and give 100 percent. I also believe I am very coachable, and when I'm offered a suggestion for improvement, I try very hard to implement that advice into my game.
USAH: What is your conditioning schedule like during the NHL season? How about during the off-season?
Walsh: During the season, conditioning work is more about maintaining what you built up over the summer. The workouts aren't as intense but you must continue to take good care of your body. Game-day workouts usually include a 30-minute bike ride or a couple miles run at the hotel gym. I also like to do some core work and light strength training on top of that.
The weather in Portland is amazing in the summer, and I prefer to be outside and on my road bike. I usually get in about four days a week of riding outdoors to help build my endurance and strength. I try to play hockey a few days a week as well to help work on my skating.
USAH: When did you realize you finally had cemented your career as an official? What was that feeling like?
Walsh: I don't know if you ever get that feeling. Every night is a different challenge in our league. It is a hard, hard league to officiate. The scrutiny of every call, every goal, ever non-call is such a challenge for all of us. The best players and coaches in the world expect us to perform at such a high level every night, and we have to be ready for anything that comes our way. It’s a privilege to be on the ice in the NHL, and I think that is something no official takes for granted.
USAH: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date as an official?
Walsh: Being chosen to participate in four Stanley Cup playoffs is what I'm most proud of. It’s an incredible honor to be selected and that’s the goal for every official each year. Also, being part of the team that was chosen to represent the NHL at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was a phenomenal experience and a great opportunity.
USAH: What has been the biggest hurdle/obstacle you've had to overcome in your officiating career?
Walsh: I’ve been lucky so far, knock on wood, that I haven’t had any serious injuries. Other than some bumps and bruises, I’ve been relatively injury-free in my career. The biggest challenge is to be able to bounce back from calls you made that aren't correct. In this day and age, we usually know within minutes after the game if we made a wrong decision. When you make a call that impacts the game, it’s hard on the mind. Unfortunately, we make mistakes and what most people don't understand is that nobody takes it harder than the official making that mistake. Being able to bounce back from a mistake is something all officials must learn to do.
USAH: Who has had the most impact on your officiating career over the past 15 years? What has that person or those people taught you?
Walsh: Nobody has helped me more over my NHL career than fellow referee Paul Devorski. I've worked a lot of games with Paul and we’ve had the opportunity to travel together on the road. As an elite, veteran referee, he has been able to pass down some of his knowledge to me to help me become a better official. Paul is retiring this year, and our staff will sorely miss him.
USAH: How has the game changed, besides speed, since you started in the early 2000s?
Walsh: I would say the biggest change besides the speed of the game would be the use of technology. It is amazing what you see at rink – teams have iPads on the bench, super slo-motion video replays, hi-def video scoreboards, etc. With all that technology, it makes the officials job appear easy. People forget that the official on the ice sees a play one time, in real time, and must make a split-second decision on that play. It often appears quite different when you see a replay in super slo-mo on hi-def after a game.
USAH: What advice can you give aspiring NHL/professional league officials as they progress in their career?
Walsh: I would say make sure you have a backup plan. Making it to the NHL is everyone’s goal, but there are very few jobs available. There are so many factors that go into hiring an official and a lot of those are out of your control. Go and work the highest level available to you. Don't worry about other officials, if you are good enough, the NHL will find you. Also, control what you can control – always work on your skating, know your rules and come to the rink every night with a strong work ethic and a great attitude.