Sharks prospect Sean Kuraly still isn't a lock to make Team USA's 2013 World Junior Championships squad but his performance in the club's first pre-tournament game against Sweden likely moved the 19-year-old center that much closer to an assured roster spot.
Skating on USA's top line between Alex Galchenyuk, the Sarnia Sting phenom who went 3rd overall to Montreal in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, and Mario Lucia, a second round pick of the Wild back in 2011, Kuraly finished second among American forwards in ice time, won 7 of 13 faceoffs and registered three shots on goal in his club's 3-2 win over the Swedes.
But he saved his best play for last. Chosen by Team USA head coach and Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Housley to take an offensive zone faceoff to the left of Swedish goaltender Niklas Lundstrom 1:38 into sudden death overtime, Kuraly cleanly won the draw against Swedish center William Karlsson. The puck skipped back to the right point where it was taken by unpronounceable Flyers prospect Shayne Gostisbehere, who wired home a slapshot to win the game.
Team USA will make its final cuts following Saturday's pre-tournament game against Finland.