October 18, 2012

Baillargeon, Fitzgerald make World Jr. A Challenge roster

By Jesse Connolly

The names of the 22 players picked for the U.S. Junior Select squad that will compete in the World Junior A Challenge were announced on Thursday. Two of the participants hail from New England. 

Robbie Baillargeon currently leads the Indiana Ice in scoring. (Photo: Indiana Ice)

Robbie Baillargeon (Enfield, Conn.) and Ryan Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.) were two of the 13 forward tabbed for the under-20 tournament, which will take place in Yarmouth, Nova Scota from Nov. 5-11.

Baillargeon, who will turn 19 next month, is in his second season with the USHL’s Indiana Ice. He ranked third on the club last season with 48 points (14 goals, 34 assists) in 54 contests and added six points in six playoff tilts.

In June, the former Cushing Academy star was selected 136th overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. So far this season for the Ice, Baillargeon has seven points in eight games.

Fitzgerald was the only player outside of the USHL to make the team. The son of former NHLer Tom Fitzgerald (Billerica, Mass.) made the jump from Malden Catholic to the Eastern Junior Hockey League this season.

After storming out of the gate to take the league lead in scoring, the 5-foot-9 forward shined at the inaugural All-American Prospect Game in Buffalo, earning MVP honors with three assists in his squad’s 5-2 victory. Fitzgerald, who was listed on Central Scouting’s preliminary draft rankings, came in 27th on TSN analyst Craig Button’s list of players eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft, which was released this week.

Fitzgerald, who will turn 18 on Friday, will head to Boston College next fall, the same time Baillargeon is slated to arrive at BU.

The U.S. faces Canada West in an exhibition game on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. ADT. Tournament play gets underway Nov. 5 vs. Canada East at 7:30 p.m. AST.

FASTHockey.com will provide live streaming coverage for all tournament games. Those interested in watching should sign up for a free account in advance at USAHockey.FASTHockey.com.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.