The U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams continue United States Hockey League action this week with four games. The U18s finish their schedule with two contests, while the U17s wrap up a six-game road trip with two more games.
FINAL HOME GAMES: The U.S. National Under-18 Team plays its final two regular-season home games this week. The U18s entertain the Omaha Lancers at 7 p.m. EDT Saturday before facing the Muskegon Lumberjacks at 3:30 p.m Sunday.
“There is a bit of finality this weekend,” said head coach Danton Cole, whose squad carries a 34-15-2 (W-L-OTL) record into the final week of play. “There is so much going on for so long, but I think sometime this week we will start thinking about that. Then the players start thinking about how it’s our last home game and how they leave in 10 days for the [World U18 Championships] and then afterwards, they are done here. It’s a big two years out of their lives, but from the guys who come back, they will tell you how much the time and the team means to them.”
The U18s swept a pair of USHL contests over the weekend, winning 5-2 at Chicago on Saturday and 5-3 over Youngstown on Sunday.
Against Chicago, Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.), Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.), Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.) and Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) registered the goals. Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) finished with 17 saves.
Larkin registered two goals while Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill.), Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), and Matthews had single tallies in the win over Youngstown. Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) finished with 13 saves.
“As we are ramping up towards the World Championships, I think the details are important,” Cole said. “We want to keep playing hard and playing the right way. I think our guys did that. It was a good weekend for us — we wanted two wins and we got it.”
FINAL ROAD SWING: The U.S. National Under-17 Team closes out its six-game road trip with two contests. The squad heads to Bensenville, Ill., to play the Chicago Steel on Friday. On Saturday, the team travels to Green Bay, Wis., to face the Gamblers.
“We need to keep working and playing our game,” said head coach Don Granato, whose squad is 29-19-2-0 (W-L-OTL-T). “We are definitely in a difficult stretch of our schedule, playing six straight road contests. Our team just needs to improve each time we step out onto the ice.”
The U17s dropped a pair of road games this weekend, falling 7-3 at Youngstown on Friday and 6-1 at Muskegon on Saturday. At Youngstown, Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.), Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) and Zach Werenski scored the goals. Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) and Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) combined for 21 stops. Ryan Wagner (Park Ridge, Ill.) scored the lone goal against Muskegon while Opilka and Lackey finished with 29 saves.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.