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Five state players make U-18 selects

07/03/2012, 3:28pm CDT
By MN Hockey Hub staff

Kivihalme, Reno, Vannelli, Kuhlman, Lettieiri picked to play for U.S. in Europe

Five Minnesotans who played high school hockey last season have been named to the 23-player U.S. Under-18 Select team that will play in the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament on Aug. 12-17 in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Defensemen Teemu Kivihalme of Burnsville, Parker Reno of Edina and Tommy Vannelli of Minnetonka were select team picks, as were forwards Karson Kuhlman of Cloquet and Vinni Lettieri of Minnetonka.

The selections were made after the USA Hockey Select 17 player development camp in Rochester, N.Y.

Lettieri played just three games in Rochester before suffering a groin injury, but the University of Minnesota recruit scored two goals and impressed evaluators enough to earn a spot on the national team.

Lettieri’s father, Tino, said a decision on where Vinni will play next season – Minnetonka High School or with Lincoln, Neb., in the USHL – will be made after the Ivan Hlinka tournament.

The other four players all are expected to play for their high school teams this winter.

Minnetonka coach Brian Urick said Vannelli, who scored a goal and five assists in six games at the national camp, has drawn interest from Minnesota, Wisconsin, St. Cloud State, Notre Dame and Minnesota State since returning from New York. Urick said the U.S. National Team Development Program based in Ann Arbor, Mich., also is showing interest in the 6-foot-2, 188-pound Vannelli.

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