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Mersch Invited to National Junior Evaluation Camp

USA Hockey has released the names of forty players who have been invited to the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp. One familiar name was on the list as Wisconsin Sophomore forward Michael Mersch was among the 26 forwards invited to camp. The camp takes place in Lake Placid, NY in August and is part of the audition process for selecting the U.S. National Junior Team that will take part in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2011-Jan. 5, 2012, in Calgary and Edmonton.

The World Junior Championship is the most prestigious amateur hockey tournament in the world with each hockey super power sending it's best under 20 players that aren't in National Hockey League. The University of Wisconsin has had tremendous success at the event sending players to the tournament the past nine years in a row. A total of twenty players were culled from the Badgers during that span. Those 20 combined to cash in on 12 medals (8 gold, 4 bronze).

More on Mersch and the Evaluation Camp after the jump.

Mersch had an outstanding freshman season for the Badgers after spending two seasons as a member of the United States National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor. After accelerating his high school career to graduate in three years Mersch was expected to be a limited contributor in his rookie season. Apparently he had other plans as he was a point producer on the second line for the majority of the season recording 19 points in 41 games.

USA Hockey will select 13 forwards to take with them to the World Junior Championship in Calgary and Edmonton and Mersch has a legitimate chance to be selected. The red, white, and blue return four forwards off last seasons roster who are expected to return in Jason Zucker (Denver), Nick Bjugstad (Minnesota), Charlie Coyle (Boston University), and Emerson Etem (Medicine Hat, WHL).

Other then the four previously mentioned, the remaining forward spots are fairly wide open. North Dakota incoming freshmen J.T. Miller and Rocco Grimaldi are the only two other players invited to camp that I view as locks to make the roster. That leaves 7 spots remaining and Mersch has just as good of a chance as any especially with his background playing for USA Hockey. If Dean Blais (who will be USA's head coach) is looking for a net presence on the power play Mersch could find his way onto the roster.

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