One Mission. Redemption! After the country’s first ever medal in the Men’s Division in 2015, a heartbreaking overtime loss in the gold medal game to Slovakia, the USA Men left the 2017 Czech Republic games feeling well underachieved. A fifth place start this year is fueling the fire of a team more hungry than ever, determined to get back to the podium in Kosice.
Led by new General Manager Mike DeFazio, who played the role as a solid stay-athome defenseman for the team in 2017. DeFazio also carries a leadership role in the USA Ball Hockey (USABH) organization as being one of its founding members, leading his nation in the sport’s growth and development. He has assembled a roster in collaboration with Cory Herschk and Tom Ruiz, who also serve as coaches for Team USA.
• 6/14 – 21:00 v Czech Republic, Steel Arena
• 6/15 – 18:00 v Slovakia, Steel Arena
• 6/16 – 19:15 v Finland, Steel Arena
• 6/17 – 12:30 v Great Britain, Steel Arena
• Goalkeepers: Brandon Junik, Jason Rocha
• Defense: Nick Carter, Jarrod Herschk, Cam Jones, Alec Myers, Cody Smith, Korey Wilson, Rick Zimmick
• Forwards: Drew Albright, Jordan Albright, Marc Bergamasco, Ryan Boucher, John Healy, Dennis Hickey, Mike Malloy, John Petito, Jonathan Ruiz, Denny Schlegel, Steve Scian, Jordan Senecal, Eric Zimmerman
Players to Watch
A thief in the net! Found often times padded up, but standing in construction worker boots that protect his precious quick feet. Junik was a part of a marathon this year at the Super Bowl Bye Weekend Invitational Tier 1 Tournament in Pennsylvania where he and his Buffalo Fusion teammates played in a record setting 7 overtime game, of which Junik made more than 70 saves. One of the U.S. captains believes that Junik is well over due for a shot at a gold medal for the United States. He’s been a top ranked goaltender in the tier 1 circuit for the past handful of years, and is excited to learn from the experienced Rocha as he makes his ISBHF rookie debut.
Found often times padded up, but standing in construction worker boots that protect his precious quick feet. Junik was a part of a marathon this year at the Super Bowl Bye Weekend Invitational Tier 1 Tournament in Pennsylvania where he and his Buffalo Fusion teammates played in a record setting 7 overtime game, of which Junik made more than 70 saves. One of the U.S. captains believes that Junik is well over due for a shot at a gold medal for the United States. He’s been a top ranked goaltender in the tier 1 circuit for the past handful of years, and is excited to learn from the experienced Rocha as he makes his ISBHF rookie debut.
Making his 4th appearance at the World Championships, Rocha has made his return to the net after taking the last year off. He’s hungry to give this one last shot at a gold medal. Rocha was part of the wall that was built in the U.S. cage back in 2015. He stole the show making save after save vs a talented Greek team in the Semifinals before the team played for gold. Rocha has an unorthodox style to his butterfly game that makes him difficult to read for any shooter. He’s light on his feet and quick at reacting to just about any situation. Most notably, he’s a calm and experienced leader behind a fast hockey team. In the states, Rocha played this past season in goal for the newly formed Los Angeles Barons club team winning an MVG honor at the North American Championships.
Since acquiring a new coaching staff and management back in 2014, the team has posted a 12-0-2 record in their last two World Championships. An impressive pool play shoot-out victory over the host Czech Republic in 2017 had the team confident that their shot at gold was back on the horizon, until an overtime loss to Greece in the Quarterfinals shattered all hope at their chance. The team eased their way into an angry and disappointing 5th place finish. A let down after such high hopes coming off of their 2015 silver medal.
New faces seem to be the talk of the town. Though not new to international play being as that 15 players have played in ISBHF World Championships dating back to their Junior careers. Yet, this roster is much different from the 2017 version. With added youth, speed and size to an already fast group, the 2019 U.S. team won’t mind the physical play or the track meet.
Curtain calls are always a motivating factor for a person to mentally and physically prepare for their final bout. Head Coach, Cory Herschk, as well as teammates Denny Schlegel and Jason Rocha, have made it clear that they are asking their families to be by their side one final time supporting their hunger for gold. Schlegel will be bringing his wife and team nurse, Amanda, along on the 8 hour airplane ride over the Atlantic to cheer him on proudly. Herschk will continue to work as an ambassador for the sport and a board member for the rapidly growing USABH organization.
Preparation is different for the team this time around. Players are holding one another more accountable by using social media to motivate. Daily workout videos, plus pictures of healthy meals go hand in hand with images of scales sent back and forth between players and staff. Robert Morris University’s head athletic trainer, Jason Daley, has worked with U.S. captain, and athletic trainer, Nick Carter on a monthly workout program so that all of the players arrive prepared for the physical demands of an event of this stature. A similar workout program was developed in 2015.