U.S. 'Pegger hoping for better luck next time

PAUL FRIESEN

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

PARDUBICE, Czech Republic -- Nothing like a crash-and-burn in the medal round to really make you want to get back to the World Junior.

The fortunes of forward Colin Wilson, the dual citizen who grew up in Winnipeg but is playing for the Americans, perfectly reflected that of Team USA.

Bursting from the gate, Wilson scored six goals and the U.S. was unbeaten through the preliminary round.

Two losses later, the team goes home empty-handed.

"I'm really disappointed we didn't get a medal out of it," Wilson said, after a 4-2 loss to Russia in yesterday's bronze-medal game. "Hopefully I'll be on the team again and we'll come back and have a lot better outing. I need to now. I don't like how I represented our country. I could have done a lot better."

An 18-year-old expected to be a first-round NHL draft choice next summer, Wilson was shut out in the playoff round, as the U.S. also lost a semifinal to Canada.

He called yesterday's loss one of the toughest of his life -- right next to a final-game defeat at the hands of the Russians in last year's World Under-18 Championship.

He can't believe the Americans fell behind by four goals before waking up.

"We came out flat. I don't know what happened," Wilson said. "Guys weren't ready to play. Just the whole mental focus -- we obviously didn't have it at the beginning of the game. We weren't battling."

He acknowledged the semifinal loss to Canada the night before, and the quick turnaround, was likely a factor.

The sting, he says, will last.

"I'm not going to completely forget," he said. "I'm going to get rid of the emotion of being really disappointed. But I'm going to remember the feeling of how bad it feels to come out flat, not win a game and not get a medal after being 4-0. I'm going to remember that the next time we're on a roll."

Wilson was born near New York when his dad, Winnipegger Carey Wilson, played for the Rangers. A freshman at Boston University, he'll attend the draft in the summer, where his combination of skill and size (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) will entice NHL teams.

"I'm going to finish off my college season. I really want to contribute to that," Wilson said. "And then the draft. It'll be fun."


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