USA Hockey has been dominant at the youth level in international competition recently. That success has carried over this summer, as the U.S. Under-17 Select Team clinched gold this week at the 2012 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Chomutov, Czech Republic.
Wisconsin fans can take some additional pride in the medal, knowing that a big piece of their future had a significant impact on securing the gold. 2015 Badger recruit Seamus Malone was one of the United States top forwards at the tournament, registering two goals and an assist in four tournament games.
Malone's game tying goal in the tournament finale vs Slovakia earned him player game honors. The Naperville, IL native also recorded an assist in a pre-tournament exhibition game vs the Czech Republic.
USA won every game they played this week, finishing their European trip 5-0 including exhibition contests. Malone recorded points in four of those five games.
Deciding to make an early commitment in just the spring of his freshman year of high school, Malone chose the Badgers over Ohio State, Colorado College, Western Michigan, and Yale.
Malone, who is Wisconsin's first verbal commit for the class of 2015 talked to Bucky's 5th Quarter about why he made the decision to become a Badger.
"It goes without saying that Wisconsin is a top-notch school. But for me, the hockey staff was my primary motivation," Malone told Bucky's 5th Quarter in late March.
"I truly believe they can take my hockey skills to the next level and mold me into a premier player. Plus the facilities are state-of-the art."
Last season Malone played for the Chicago Mission U16 team that was loaded with D1 hockey prospects. Teammates Jake Linhart (Brookfield, WI) and Peter Tischke (Hinsdale, IL) are also committed to Wisconsin. Christian Dvorak (New Lenox, IL) is another elite prospect from that club who is considering offers from a handful of schools including Wisconsin.
In 28 league games last season for the Mission in the High Performance Hockey League, Malone recorded 13 goals and 20 assists for 33 points.
After the season, Malone made another major decision about his future. The 5'9, 160 pound forward accepted a tender offer from the Dubuque Fighting Saints to join their club in the USHL next season. As just a sophomore in high school, Malone will be one of the youngest players in the top junior league in the United States.
One of his teammates next season with the Fighting Saints will be Waunakee, WI defenseman Keegan Ford. Malone and Ford got a brief preview of what it will be like to play together this week, as Ford was also a member of the team USA sent over to the Czech Republic.
Keegan is the son of former Badger player, and assistant coach Pat Ford. Ford is not committed to a college, but has likely seen his stock increase with his play in big time events this summer.
Malone has also seen his stock rise with his play over the past six months. Scouts have raved about his 200 foot game. When we talked to him back in March, Malone basically described himself as the prototype forward that Mike Eaves is looking for.
"I pride myself in being a 2-way player. I play both ends of the ice. I can be a play-maker and a goal scorer. I'm a hard working leader, and a good teammate."
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