When the World Junior Championship opens Dec. 26 in the Czech Republic with a showdown between rivals U.S. and Canada, it could pit UND teammates against each other.
UND freshman forward Shane Pinto was named to Team USA's World Junior preliminary roster Monday afternoon. He will participate in a camp Dec. 16-17 in Plymouth, Mich., to determine the final roster.
Pinto is one of 28 players on the preliminary roster. The Americans will have to make five cuts before heading to Europe. Two of the cuts will likely come at forward.
UND sophomore defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker was earlier named to Canada's preliminary roster. Bernard-Docker left for Canada's selection camp after UND's sweep of Western Michigan in Kalamazoo, Mich., Saturday night.
If both players make their team's final roster, it will mark the first time that UND teammates have played against each other in the World Juniors since January 2007, when Jonathan Toews (Canada) beat Taylor Chorney and Brian Lee (USA) in a semifinal game. Toews scored three shootout goals, including the winner. Toews and Canada eventually won gold. Chorney and Lee won bronze.
Pinto, of Franklin Square, N.Y., leads UND with eight goals and is third in points with 14 in 17 games.
Pinto ranks second in the nation in goals by a freshman, only behind Wisconsin's Cole Caufield (12), also a U.S. World Junior team pick.
Pinto is one of four current National Collegiate Hockey Conference players on the American team, which will be coached by former UND defenseman and current Minnesota Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin.
The others are Denver forward Bobby Brink, Western Michigan defenseman Mattias Samuelsson and Omaha goalie Isaiah Saville.
USA preliminary roster
Shane Pinto, North Dakota
John Beecher, Michigan
Bobby Brink, Denver
Cole Caufield, Wisconsin
Jack Drury, Harvard
Parker Ford, Providence
Jon Gruden, OHL (former Miami)
Curtis Hall, Yale
Trevor Janicke, Notre Dame
Arther Kaliyev, OHL
Robert Mastrosimone, Boston University
Jacob Pivonka, Notre Dame
Nick Robertson, OHL
Alex Turcotte, Wisconsin
Trevor Zegras, Boston University
Ty Emberson, Wisconsin
Jordan Harris, Northeastern
Ryan Johnson, Minnesota
Zac Jones, UMass
Christian Krygier, Michigan State
K'Andre Miller, Wisconsin
Alec Regula, OHL
Mattias Sameulsson, Western Michigan
Spencer Stastney, Notre Dame
Cam York, Michigan
Spencer Knight, Boston College
Isaiah Saville, Omaha
Dustin Wolf, WHL