Maple Leafs' Kessel, van Riemsdyk named to U.S. Olympic roster

Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, wearing Team USA jerseys, are introduced as members of the...

Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, wearing Team USA jerseys, are introduced as members of the American Olympic hockey team that will play at this February's Sochi Games. The announcement took place after the Winter Classic. (USA Today)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:05 PM ET

ANN ARBOR, MICH. - Here in the heartland of U.S. hockey, on a snowy historic Wednesday afternoon, it was two American-born players who combined to give the team with the Maple Leafs crest some hope.

Yes, come six weeks from now, Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk will represent the stars and stripes at the Sochi Olympics, having been officially named to the squad on Wednesday night.

But two hours before that announcement was made, Kessel and van Riemsdyk teamed up for what would prove to be the turning point in Toronto’s historic 3-2 shootout victory over the Detroit Red Wings at the 2014 Winter Classic at the Big House.

With an announced throng of 105,491 peering through the driving snow flurries, the Maple Leafs, down 1-0 at the time, received a huge boost of momentum courtesy of van Riemsdyk, who batted a rebound past Wings goalie Jimmy Howard with just 37 seconds left in the second period to tie the score.


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