LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- One of the early standouts at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation camp has been Daniel O'Regan, who scored twice in USA Blue's 6-5 overtime loss to Finland on Sunday, and nearly had a hat trick.
O'Regan's line -- he skated at center between Nicolas Kerdiles and Riley Barber -- looked the best of any of the two USA squads. The trio combined for two goals and five assists.
"The line with O'Regan and Kerdiles and Barber, I thought, was very good," USA coach Don Lucia said Sunday. "That's something we were hoping to see, them generate offense, and they did [Sunday]."
O'Regan's first goal, late in the second period, got USA Blue to within 3-2, and he tied the game with a power-play goal 19 seconds into the third. He had a glorious chance for a hat trick with 12:40 left in the third, but jammed his shots into the pads of Finland goalie Juuse Saros.
"Riley went around the net, made a great play," O'Regan said. "I was in too tight. I tried to get it up, but [Saros] got a pad on it."
Creating offense is nothing new for O'Regan. A 2012 fifth-round pick of the San Jose Sharks (No. 138), he had 16 goals and 38 points in 39 games last season as a freshman at Boston University and was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team.
However, O'Regan said he wants to show that he can be more than just an offensive player -- whatever it takes to earn a spot on the team that goes to Sweden for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
"I'm kind of a two-way center, reliable, but can really make plays offensively," O'Regan said. "I can be a top-six forward, or any role, really, on a team. I just wanted to show that to the coaches."
Helping O'Regan is some built-in chemistry with Kerdiles -- the duo teamed with Ryan Hartman to play on a line at the 2013 World Under-18 Championship, which the United States won. Adding Barber -- the only forward from last year's WJC gold medalists at this year's camp -- to the mix has brought another offensive element to the line.
"I've been skating all summer, my legs are feeling pretty good," O'Regan said. "Starting out playing with Nic and Riley's not bad. They're a couple great players. I had a little chemistry with Nic last year, and we seemed to just pick it back up again. … They're both really offensive-minded players, creative, fast, they really keep it moving. I find myself trying to keep up with them a lot of the time. They're always going. Smart players, unselfish -- great kids to play with."
O'Regan, who also scored a goal in the intrasquad scrimmage Saturday, said he isn't letting his early camp success change his mindset.
"I'm not going to let it get to my head or anything," he said. "I just got to keep working hard every shift. Definitely, confidence is up. Hopefully I can keep doing what I'm doing."
By Adam Kimelman
NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
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