By JACK VANASSCHE, Sports Editor
The United States Men’s National University Team, featuring University of Michigan-Dearborn hockey players Ryan Urso and Tyler Groat, concluded its tournament play at the World University Games in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Monday with a 10-1 victory over the United Kingdom to finish in 9th place.
Groat, the leading scorer for the UM-Dearborn hockey team, played in all five games for Team USA and racked up three goals and three assists in the red, white and blue. When he was on the ice, Team USA scored 10 more goals than they surrendered over the five-game tournament.
Urso made an appearance in three of the team’s five games, with his best performance coming in the 9th place placement game in which he had three assists and two shots on goal. Urso had key blocks in Team USA’s first preliminary game against Team Canada.
Team USA started the preliminary round games on Monday, Jan. 30 and dropped their opener to a talented Team Canada, 6-0. Canada is currently set to play in the semifinals against Russia on Tuesday for a chance to head to the Universiade hockey gold medal game.
Hours after their loss to Canada, Team USA dropped their second game of the preliminary round to Slovakia, 4-1 on Tuesday. Slovakia eventually made it to the quarterfinals before being dispatched by the Czech Republic. Slovakia will take on Latvia in the fifth-place game on Tuesday.
In their last game of the preliminary round, Team USA blew out the United Kingdom 10-1 on Thursday. Groat recorded his first goal of the tournament in the second period of the win.
At the conclusion of the preliminary round, Team USA was one of four teams with 1-4 records, but were the only team edged out of the top eight.
Sweden beat out Team USA for the last spot in the quarterfinals and a chance at a medal by a tiebreaker of goal differential, which Sweden won +5 to USA’s 0.
Team USA, just narrowly missing out on the quarterfinals, was sent to the classifications pool with a ceiling of 9th place.
Saturday, Team USA made a statement in a blowout of China by a wide 17-1 margin. The win sent Team USA to the ninth-place game with a rematch against the United Kingdom.
History repeated itself, as Team USA took down the U.K. a second time in the tournament by a 10-1 score.
Urso’s three assists aided in the clinching victory.
Groat and Urso will now return home to play with UM-Dearborn, where they will immediately be tasked with facing the No. 1 team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association in Minot State.