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McManus helps lift U.S. to gold at World Junior A Challenge

 

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Newport Beach native and former LA Select Brannon McManus helped lift the U.S. Junior Select Team to a gold-medal performance at this year’s World Junior A Challenge, which was showcased from Dec. 11-17 in Bonnyville, Alberta.

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Team USA forged a 4-1 record at the event, including a 4-0 triumph over Canada East in Saturday’s (Dec. 17) championship game.

For the tournament, McManus, a forward who will attend and play his NCAA Division I hockey at the University of Minnesota following his junior career, struck for a pair of goals in the five games.

“I’m extremely proud of this team,” said Jay Varady, head coach of Team USA. “We stayed the course after opening the tournament with a loss (0-1 to the Czech Republic) and came together as a group. It was a total team effort and this is a memory none of us will ever forget.”

The win marks Team USA’s seventh title at the World Junior A Challenge since its inception in 2006. The U.S., which also won the event from 2008-10 and 2012-14, has now earned a victory in each of its seven trips to the tournament final.

A former standout at Minnesota’s Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school, McManus is in his second season playing in the United States Hockey League (USHL) where he’s totaled 11 points (six goals) through 19 games with the Omaha Lancers and Chicago Steel (McManus was traded to Chicago last week).

The 1999-born McManus was also recently selected to compete in the upcoming USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, which will be played on Jan. 10, 2017 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

NHL Central Scouting recognized McManus on its preliminary “Players to Watch” list of 2017 draft-eligibles, which was released in October.