It’s hard to believe that just a year ago Charlie McAvoy was himself in the World Junior hockey tournament putting on a show for Team USA. The Bruins defenseman was a clutch player for USA Hockey while earning Player of the Game honors in the championship tilt where he led the Americans to a gold medal with a two-point, plus-3 performance in the 5-4 shootout victory over Canada.
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McAvoy dominated the seven games played by Team USA en route to capturing gold last winter and the 20-year-old is hoping for the same thing this time as he roots for the Americans off to a good start after beating Canada Friday night in an outdoor game.
“I was really excited to see the tournament get going. This is probably my favorite time of year,” said McAvoy, who is third among NHL defensemen in scoring and leads all NHL rookies in ice time per game by a wide, wide margin of more than four minutes. “I was lucky enough to be on two different [world junior] teams and I made some friends that I’ll have for my entire life. Guys really come together in such a short amount of time and it’s become a bit of a family with USA Hockey. I think that’s one of the big reasons that we have success.
“It’s a very exciting tournament and I’ll be watching as the games get bigger as things move along. I’ll be cheering for them every step of the way.”
McAvoy is rooting on fellow Bruins prospects Trent Frederic, goalie Jeremy Swayman and Ryan Lindgren who are among this year's Under-20 group on Team USA. Clearly, the excitement of the elite tournament brought out the best in McAvoy, who has shown a career-long ability to thrive and excel in the spotlight of playoff games, international play and generally any moment when the game is on the line.
Let's hope watching Team USA in the world juniors can bring some of that big-game level play out of McAvoy as the Bruins travel to Ottawa for a tonight's game against the Senators. McAvoy and the Bruins will be looking to get back on the winning track after a shootout loss in Washington ended their season-high five-game winning streak.