Brad Berry surprised at Grant Mismash's omission from World Junior team
For just the second time in a decade, UND will not have a player at the World Junior Championship -- and that came as a surprise to head coach Brad Berry.
Berry thought that freshman forward Grant Mismash, who is tied for the team lead in scoring with 14 points in 17 games, would make the U.S. roster after a strong start to the season.
But Mismash was not one of the 28 players announced on the preliminary squad by USA Hockey on Tuesday afternoon.
“I was extremely surprised and very disappointed,” Berry said. “We talk about that you can control three things in your life. That’s your work ethic, your attitude and the choices you make every day. And he’s done a great job of doing that. Our message to him -- and his message back -- was: ‘All right, no big deal. Let’s keep moving forward here. Let’s worry about our close family here at hand at North Dakota.’
“Again, I’m disappointed, but it is what it is. You can’t do anything about it, but control the things in your life that you can control.”
Mismash is still eligible for the under-20 team next year.
The 6-foot, 185-pound forward and second-round draft pick of the Nashville Predators has showed a lot of versatility and skill early in his freshman season. He has the ability to play both wing and center. He has the ability to play both a physical, grinding style as well as a highly dynamic game.
“I think it’s everything that we could imagine that he could bring to us with the categories he leads us on the team as a young guy,” Berry said. “I think a lot of guys know that he plays through a lot of different things the way he plays the game. He’s brought a lot to our group as a young guy.
“We don’t get caught up on things other than what’s currently going on in our family, and that’s winning games with our North Dakota group.”
Mismash has been the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s rookie of the week four times already this season.
Ironically, the U.S. World Junior team is coached by St. Cloud State’s Bob Motzko, who will be on the opposite bench this weekend (7:37 p.m. Friday, 7:07 p.m. Saturday, St. Cloud’s National Hockey Center).
World Junior roster decisions are made largely by USA Hockey’s executives and scouts with input from the head coach.
Minnesota Duluth has five players on the preliminary roster -- forwards Joey Anderson and Riley Tufte and defensemen Mikey Anderson, Dylan Samberg and Scott Perunovich.
Other NCHC players include Western Michigan’s Hugh McGing and St. Cloud State’s Ryan Poehling.
If there’s a bright spot, it is that Mismash should be fresh and ready to play UND’s series against Omaha on Jan. 5-6. He may have risked missing that series had he been at the World Juniors, which will be held in Buffalo, N.Y., beginning on Dec. 26.