SIOUX CITY | Three Sioux City Musketeers – forwards Bobby Brink and Parker Ford along with defenseman Luke Johnson, have been selected to play in the World Junior A Challenge which will be held Dec. 9-16 in Bonnyville, Alberta.
In addition, Musketeers assistant coach Mark Abalan has been selected as an assistant coach on the 21-man roster comprised entirely of United States Hockey League players. It may be the first time for Brink, Ford and Johnson in terms of competing in the World Junior A Challenge, but it’s the second chance for Abalan as an assistant.
Brink, a University of Denver recruit, currently ranks second among USHL scorers with 28 points for Coach Luke Strand’s Musketeers, currently in second place in the Western Conference heading into this Wednesday’s game at the Tyson Events Center against Waterloo.
Just two points behind scoring leader and teammate Martin Pospisil, Brink ranks second in the USHL in both goals (12) and assists (16). He’s also has a third-place total of seven power-play assists.
Brink has a seven-game scoring streak that currently leads the team. He has two hat tricks on the season, 11 multiple-point games and has scored in all but two of the Musketeers’ 16 games.
Johnson, a Providence recruit, is the USHL’s defenseman scoring leader with 18 points (2 goals, 16 assists). Tied with Brink for second in the league with his assist total, Johnson is also second in the league with eight power play assists.
Johnson is one of four USHL players to have a four-assist game this season, performing the feat in a 4-3 overtime win over Sioux Falls on Oct. 27. Incidentally, his final assist came on Brink’s overtime goal, 19 seconds into the extra session at the Tyson Events Center.
Also a Providence recruit, Ford has seven goals and eight assists for the Musketeers, who rank fifth in the USHL with 63 goals. One goal away from matching last season’s total, Ford takes a four-game scoring streak into Wednesday night’s game.
Ford has scored in eight of his last nine games. He has two goals and four assists on the power play, something that Brink and Johnson will also take to Bonnyville, as Brink has four goals and seven assists on the man advantage while Johnson has two goals and eight assists.
Abalan, well into his second stint as a Musketeers’ assistant coach, has coaching responsibilities for the power play that ranks second in the USHL at 28.1 percent. He served on Noreen’s staff for the 2013 team that won the World Junior A Challenge.
Abalan is in his first year as an associate head coach for the Musketeers.
The World Junior A Challenge is in its 13th year and the Musketeers are competing for the 12th time. The U.S. has captured the team title seven times, including four gold medals in the last six years.
The U.S. will compete alongside Canada East, Canada West, Czech Republic and Russia. The U.S. will open competition against Canada West on Dec. 9.