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Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly named to U.S. national team


The accolades continue to pour in for Gophers All-American defenseman Mike Reilly. He garnered one of the biggest honors on Tuesday when he was named to the US Men's National Team.

USA Hockey announced the initial roster that includes Reilly. The team will compete at the 2015 IIHF Men's World Championship, which runs from May 1-17 in the Czech Republic.

Reilly, a Chanhassen native, played in all 39 games as a junior for the Gophers this season. He set career highs with 42 points and 36 assists to lead all NCAA defensemen in scoring.

Reilly's 42 points were the most by a Gophers defenseman since 2001-02 when Jordan Leopold tallied 48 points, while helping to lead the Gophers to the national championship. He is also the first Minnesota defenseman to lead the team in scoring since Mike Crowley in 1996-97.

Reilly has suited up for the U.S. twice before. When he was a freshman with the Gophers, Reilly helped Team USA to the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship in Russia.

Two years earlier he helped the U.S. take third place in the 2011 World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Langley, B.C.

Reilly announced last week that he would forego his senior season at Minnesota and sign a pro contract. He was a 2011 fourth-round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets. If Reilly doesn't sign with Columbus by June 1, he would become a free agent.

On the U.S. team, Reilly will be playing for Columbus head coach and former Gopher, Todd Richards.

"We're still very hopeful that Mike Reilly's going to join our team and sign with us," said Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen. "He would be a big, big addition to our team and the way we can get the puck out of our zone, move the puck, quick feet, speed, ability to think the game quickly �� he has all those abilities."

Last week, Reilly also became the seventh player in Gophers history to be named to back-to-back All-American first teams.

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