Nov. 30—Jake Sanderson and Tyler Kleven won gold with the U.S. World Junior Championship team last season.
This year, they're back and the UND sophomore defensemen will try to make history.
Sanderson and Kleven were named to the U.S. World Junior preliminary roster Tuesday, clearing a big hurdle on their way to making the final U.S. roster for the under-20 event.
Only one UND player has ever won two golds at the World Juniors: forward Jonathan Toews for Canada in 2006 and 2007.
Sanderson and Kleven will try to be the first to do it for the Americans, who have never won back-to-back golds.
The World Juniors are set to begin Dec. 26 in Edmonton and Red Deer. The U.S. opens with a game against Slovakia. It will also play Switzerland, Sweden and Russia in preliminary-round action.
The quarterfinals begin on Jan. 2 and the medal games are scheduled for Jan. 5.
Assuming they both make the final roster, Sanderson and Kleven are scheduled to miss just one contest — UND's exhibition game against the U.S. Under-18 Team on Jan. 1.
Sanderson and Kleven are expected to play this weekend at St. Cloud State and next weekend at Colorado College. After the series in Colorado Springs, they will immediately report to Plymouth, Mich.
UND hosts Cornell on Jan. 7-8, just two days after the medal games at the World Juniors. Sanderson and Kleven should be able to make it back to Grand Forks for that series, but coach Brad Berry may have to use them in more limited roles.
Sanderson, a first-round pick of the Ottawa Senators, leads UND in scoring with 16 points in 13 games. Kleven, a second-round pick of the Senators, has three goals and five points in 15 games.
Sanderson is expected to be a candidate to captain the U.S. squad.
There are eight National Collegiate Hockey Conference players on the preliminary U.S. roster.
The others are Denver defenseman Sean Behrens, Denver forward Carter Mazur, Minnesota Duluth forward Dominic James, Minnesota Duluth defenseman Wyatt Kaiser, Minnesota Duluth defenseman Connor Kelley and Miami forward Red Savage.