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Clarence’s Vilardo makes USA Hockey Select Team

Clarence’s Nicholas Vilardo will represent the United States as a member of USA Hockey’s Under-17 Select Team next month during the Five Nations Tournament Aug. 14-18 in Trnava, Slovakia. Other teams participating in the tournament include Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Switzerland.

Vilardo is a 5-foot-9 goaltender who last season played for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Junior Knights and has been drafted by the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League.

The 16-year-old, who is just one of three from New York State to make the 20-man select-team roster, led the Junior Knights to a USA Hockey Championship in the 14-under division in 2012 at the Northtown Center at Amherst with a 34-save performance against the St. Louis Junior Blues.

Vilardo posted a 1.92 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in camp scrimmages and stopped 11 of 12 shots in 25 minutes of work during the end-of-camp all-star game. He was the only player from the Western New York area to land a roster spot on either the Under-18 or Under-17 Team USA Select teams, which will be in action next month against international competition.

All the members of the Under-17 team participated in the 16-under USA Hockey Evaluation Camp, which took place July 7-13 at the Northtown Center.

Last year, Western New Yorkers Justin Bailey, Sean Malone and R.J. Gicewicz represented the U.S. on the Under-18 team at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament.

In girls news, the Under-18 USA Hockey Evaluation Camp in St. Cloud, Minn. wrapped up Tuesday. John Cleary, who runs the Buffalo Bisons girls hockey program, said that two Bisons – Olivia Zafuto and Annika Zalewski – were picked for the end-of-camp all-star game.

He also said several others who weren’t selected for the all-star games had great showings in camp, including Ohio State commit and Nichols senior Allison Gasuik, who had a goal and an assist in three scrimmage games at the camp.

Taylor Cianfarano of Oswego, who two years ago played for the Buffalo Bisons, also was among the 68 skaters in the camp selected for one of the two all-star games.

The seven-day girls’ 14-under and 15-under evaluation camps began Friday and run through Thursday at St. Cloud and includes eight Buffalo-area players.