CALGARY, AB -- As Calgary Flames prospect Patrick Sieloff prepares for USA Hockey's IIHF World Junior Championship training camp next week, his experience with the U.S. U18 team - which he won gold with at the 2012 IIHF U18 World Junior Championships - is coming in handy.
"It gives you a little chip on your shoulder," he told CalgaryFlames.com. "You have that international experience for the past couple of years. The experience in international tournaments do help. I know the style that USA Hockey plays, what they want.
"Last year, at Worlds, winning gold ... it was something special. It was a great experience. I can only imagine what the U20 tournament is like."
The 18 year-old defenceman was named to the USA Hockey preliminary roster on Tuesday morning and is thrilled to have the opportunity to battle for one of the seven spots available on the American blueline.
"It's huge," he said. "It was one of my short-term goals - one of my bigger goals - coming into this season. It's something that I was really working hard for - trying to get to the first camp in the summer and then have the opportunity to try out again and make the best of over in New York and hopefully Finland.
"It means a lot to me to have this chance."
The U.S. preliminary defensive corps is an extremely talented bunch; Shayne Gostisbehere, Matt Grzelcyk, Seth Jones, Jacob Trouba, Mike Reilly, Jake McCabe, Connor Murphy and Brady Skjei are the eight other blueliners on the roster and the battle for a spot on the final roster will be challenging.
"I just have to play my game," Sieloff stated. "I don't have to over-do things. I don't have to try to be that guy that tries to score a lot of goals. I don't have to be that guy who makes something happen every shift. But I'm the guy who is going compete hard every single shift.
"They have seen me play in the past couple of years with the US Development Team and they have a good feeling about what kind of player I am."
Being it is Sieloff's first time at a U20 training camp and the likes of those he is competing against for a spot on the team, some have questioned his chances of making the final cut. But Flames special assistant to the general manager Craig Conroy thinks the Ann Arbor, MI native brings a unique element to table for the team.
"He brings something special," Conroy said on Wednesday. "He's kind of like Dion Phaneuf. He's a big open-ice hitter and he plays physical. It's a little bit harder on the big ice to play physical like that but that's one element he brings that maybe some of the other guys don't bring.
"If you to have a guy to shutdown and be physical, he might be the perfect guy and might give him an edge over, say, if you have two or three guys who are offensive. They may say, 'We need a guy who is a little more physical, a little bit more of a shutdown role.' ... But if he makes or not, he's going to come out of that camp knowing he's not that far away."
Sieloff opted to play in the OHL this season and has suited up for 29 games with the Windsor Spitfires. He was named one of the team's assistant captains at the start of the year and is putting in big minutes every night. He has three goals and nine points to his name so far this year.
He was drafted by the Flames in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
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