Mario Lucia skating for Housley at World Junior Championships

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Minnesota Wild draft pick Mario Lucia will take the ice for Coach Phil Housley's U.S. team at junior hockey's World Championships.

Lucia is a freshman left winger at Notre Dame. He survived the final cut for the U.S. team, which begins play Thursday at the tournament in Russia.

The Americans have been lumped into a fearsome group that also includes Russia and Canada. But South St. Paul native Housley says the yanks can't afford to overlook their first opponent, Germany.

The tournament features the world's best players in the 17-19-year-old age group. In its preview of the event, Canada's TSN says this year's tournament really does have the best talent since nobody's playing for an NHL team.

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