Photo by Rena Laverty
USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program enters play this weekend 7-1-0-0-0 (W-L-OTL-SOL-T) after earning victories in two of the three games last weekend. The U18s continue its NCAA slate this weekend when they travel to Bowling Green, Ohio to faceoff against the Falcons of Bowling Green State University (Friday, Oct. 6) at 7:37 p.m. ET. The Under-17 team is on the road at Fox Valley Ice Arena to take on the defending 2017 Clark Cup Champion, Chicago Steel (Saturday, Oct.7) at 7:05 p.m. CT.
CRUSHING STEEL: The Under-17 team returns to action as they begin the regular season in the United State Hockey League (USHL) against the Chicago Steel at 7:05 p.m. CT at Fox Valley Ice Arena on Saturday, Oct. 7. The game can be seen live on HockeyTV.com. This will be the first of six meetings the USA Hockey National Team Development Program will face the Chicago Steel this season. Both the Under-17 and Under-18 team play the Steel three times this season. The Under-17 Team begins the season against them and will face them two more times on (Nov.17) at USA Hockey Arena and (Mar.25) at Fox Valley Ice Arena. The Steel will see the U18s starting on (Jan. 20) at Fox Valley Ice Arena followed by back-to-back games at USA Hockey Arena on (Mar. 23) and (Mar. 24) at 7:00 p.m. ET.
The U17s look to take its preseason success into the regular season as it opens its United State Hockey League (USHL) schedule against the 2017 Clark Cup Champion Chicago Steel. The U17s earned three victories during the preseason. Matthew Boldy (Millis, Mass.) led the way during the preseason, posting six points (2-4-6) in three games. Cole Caufield (Stevens Point, Wis.) found the back of the net five times during the three preseason games. Alex Vlasic (Wilmette, Ill.) recorded two goals and three assists for a total of five points. Goaltenders, Cameron Rowe (Wilmette, Ill.) and Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.) split time throughout the preseason. Rowe recorded two victories with a 3.99 goals-against-average and a .824 save percentage. Knight earned a victory while posting a 1.36 goals-against-average and a .895 save-percentage.
The Steel finished the preseason 3-1-0-0 (W-L-OTL-SOL) while the U17s finished 3-0-0-0. The defending champions finished the 2016-17 regular season with a record of 38-17-2-3. The Steel went 9-5-0-0 in the playoffs, including a 2-1 overtime victory against the Sioux City Musketeers in the deciding game of the Clark Cup Finals. This weekend’s matchup between the Chicago Steel and USA Hockey’s National Under-17 team will be the first USHL regular season game for both teams. The Under-17 team will look to continue its scoring streak (23 goals in the past three games) as it begins the season against the Steel. The Steel have six returning players from the 2016-17 season and are led by Tyler Gratton, who recorded 22 points (10-12-22) in 50 games and Baker Shore who posted 16 points (6-10-16) in 59 games. The Steel were led in the preseason offensively by Jordan Seyfert and Samuel Bucek, who netted three goals each. The last meeting was on March 10, 2017 where the NTDP lost 6-3 at Fox Valley Ice Arena. USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program holds a series record of 25-20-7 (W-L-OTL) against the Chicago Steel.
HUNTING THE FALCONS: The U.S. National Under-18 team travels to Bowling Green, Ohio for the first time since the 2013-14 season as they take on the Falcons of Bowling Green State University on Friday (Oct. 6) at Slater Family Ice Arena at 7:37 p.m. ET.
The U18s lead the all-time series with a record of 2-1-0-0 against the Falcons. The last matchup between the teams was held on February 21, 2014 at BGSU Ice Arena as the NTDP came out victorious, 6-1 behind tallies from Louie Belpedio (2012-14/Miami University), Alex Tuch (2012-14/Las Vegas Golden Knights), Anders Bjork (2012-14/ Boston Bruins), Dylan Larkin (2012-14/Detroit Red Wings), Shane Gersich (2013-15/University of North Dakota) and Ryan Wagner (2013-14/University of Wisconsin). Bjork and Larkin recorded three points each in the game having a goal and two assists. The Falcons have 16 returning players for the 2017-18 season. During the 2016-17 season, Mitch McLain led the Falcons, recording 33 points (17-16-33) in 40 games along with notching a plus 20. Closely behind McLain was Tyler Spezia, who tallied 30 points (8-22-30) in 41 games. Returning goaltender, Ryan Bednard earned a record of 3-3-0 (W-L-T) in seven games while posting a 2.71 goals-against-average and a .882 save-percentage.
NTDP-BGSU CONNECTION: Prior to the 2017-18 season, the NTDP had sent 3 players on to Bowling Green State University, Todd McIlrath (2002-03), Mike Nesdill (2000-02), Brennan Vargas (2005-07).
LAST WEEK’S WRAP UP: The U18s earned two victories during the USHL Fall Classic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after defeating the Central Illinois Flying Aces (5-2) and Omaha Lancers (5-1) at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. Following its participation in the Fall Classic, the U18s traveled to South Bend, Indiana where they fell short against #8 University of Notre Dame (4-3) on Sunday. Friday night, Tyler Weiss (Raleigh, N.C.) led the U18s attack with a goal and two assists. Joel Farabee (Cicero, N.Y.) and Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass.) added a goal and an assist each. During Saturday’s 5-1 victory over the Omaha Lancers, Adam Samuelsson (San Diego, Calif.), Bode Wilde (Birmingham, Mich.), Jake Pivonka (Naperville, Ill.), Jonathan Gruden (Rochester, Mich,) and Wahlstom scored goals. In the loss to the Fighting Irish on Sunday, Wahlstrom, Gruden and Mattias Samuelsson (Voohees, N.J.) recorded goals for the U18s. Drew DeRidder (Fenton, Mich.) ended the game with 36 saves in his first NCAA contest of the season.
PLAYER FEATURE: Family tradition fueled Cole Caufield’s passion for the sport. Full Story: http://bit.ly/2kq6jAD
Coach Appert TSN Radio Interview: NTDP Head Coach, Seth Appert talked with TSN's Hockey Prospect Radio. Full Interview: http://bit.ly/2xWTSBI
NTDP ALUMNI ON OPENING NIGHT NHL ROSTERS: On the 100th opening night for the National Hockey League, USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program had a total of 61 players on NHL rosters. The Columbus Blue Jackets led the way with six alumni’s while the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks had five. Full story can be found here.
COACHING UPDATE: Thomas Speer has been named national goaltending coach for USA Hockey and the NTDP and Rick Comley Jr. has been hired as assistant director of player personnel for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program. Full Story
NEW TICKET PACKAGES: The NTDP is offering several new season ticket packages for the 2017-18 season. These new packages include the College Six Pack, Youth Pass and Adult Hockey Package. More information is available here USAHockeyArena.com or by calling 734.453.8400.
HOME OPENER COUNTDOWN: The countdown is at just over a week until the U.S. National Under-18 Team welcomes Miami University (OH) to USA Hockey Arena for the NTDP home opener. The showdown with the RedHawks is Friday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the countdown on the NTDP social channels. Tickets for the season opener and all single games are available here.
U18S NCAA SCHEDULE: The U.S. National Under-18 Team will skate in 15 NCAA games this season, including 11 tilts with Division I squads. The U18s record sits at 0-1-0 (W-L-T) following the 4-3 loss to the University of Notre Dame last weekend. The U18s open its home NCAA schedule against Miami University on Friday (Oct. 13) before heading east to take on Dartmouth College (Oct. 20) and #4 Harvard University (Oct. 21). Take a look at the latest poll: USA Hockey/USA Today Men's College Hockey poll.
NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING RANKINGS: Seventeen players currently on the U.S. National Under-18 Team roster and eight former NTDP players were named to the NHL Central Scouting’s list of “players to watch” for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Players listed as “A” skaters who are probable to go in the first round of the 2018 Draft are forwards Farabee and Wahlstrom and defenseman Samuelsson. Read the full story here.