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Islander prospects prosper at World Junior tourney

Islanders defensive prospect Matt Donovan, right, won a

Islanders defensive prospect Matt Donovan, right, won a gold medal and scored five points in seven games in the World Junior tournament. (January 5, 2010) Credit: AP

DENVER - After Tuesday night's thrilling gold medal game at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where Team USA outlasted Team Canada in a 6-5 overtime win, the Islanders boasted four prospects who medaled at the tournament.

Defenseman Matt Donovan won gold with the USA, defensemen Travis Hamonic and Calvin de Haan earned silver with Canada and Swedish goaltender Anders Nilsson earned bronze.

Overall, the tournament was heralded a success for the seven prospects who participated.

"We're proud to have as many prospects as we did in the tournament," general manager Garth Snow said Wednesday. "It's a good sign for the future of this organization."

Assistant GM and director of amateur scouting Ryan Jankowski said the international experience will prove invaluable in the players' development.

"It's similar to playing in the Stanley Cup Finals, just in terms of the pressure, the intensity and the excitement," Jankowski said. "It will help them to deal with pressure and adversity down the road."

Hamonic, who missed the championship game after separating his shoulder on Sunday, will return to New York soon to seek a second opinion, but it is believed he'll be out eight weeks.


Young stars face off

Last night was the first time Islanders No. 1 overall draft pick John Tavares and fellow rookie center Matt Duchene, selected third overall by Colorado, faced each other as professionals.

The two roomed together at the draft and NHL combine this past summer.

"We spent a lot of time talking about junior hockey," Tavares said.

Tavares entered the game leading rookies in scoring with 16 goals and 12 assists; Duchene was third with 11 goals and 16 assists . . . Nate Thompson returned to the lineup after missing the past three games with a shoulder injury . . . Sean Bergenheim (rib) sat his 14th straight game but is expected to return either Friday against Dallas or Saturday in Phoenix.

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