OMAHA LANCERS:  The U.S. National Under-18 Team hits the road for a pair of games in Ralston, Nebraska, to take on the Lancers.

Omaha enters the weekend with a 4-13-2-0 record and 10 standings points, tying them for last place in the Western Conference.

The Lancers are led offensively by a trio of forwards who have all cracked the double digit point mark. David Deputy has posted a team-high six goals and 11 points through 19 games this year, while Justin Stupka and Jamison Sluys have both pitched in 10 points apiece for Omaha.

On the back end, Finnish defender and Providence College commit Samo Meritahti leads the Lancers blueliners with seven points (1g-6a) on the season. Chase Cheslock, who appeared in games with the NTDP during the 2022-23 season, has also added two goals and three assists.

Mikhail Yegorov is the lone qualified goaltender for Omaha as he's seen action in 10 games and compiled a 2-4-2-0 record, 2.87 GAA and .920 save percentage.

In their lone previous matchup this season, the U18s took down the Lancers by a 7-2 final at the USHL Fall Classic in September. 

CHICAGO STEEL: The Under-17 Team gets the first NTDP matchup of the season with the Steel as they travel to Illinois for a Sunday matinee.

Chicago sits in unfamiliar territory at the bottom of the USHL's Eastern Conference, entering the weekend with a 5-11-1-1 record for 12 points. The Steel have lost their last three games, but are 4-5-0-1 over their last 10.

Chicago is led by second-year forward Michael Hage, who has produced at a point-per-game rate (6g-12a) through his first 18 games of the season. Charlie Major leads the Steel with eight scores on the season, while Joey DelGreco and Mick Thompson have both hit the double digit point mark to help the offensive attack.

Along the blue line, Michael Hagens, older brother of U18 forward James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.), leads the squad with nine points (2g-7a), while Reid Conn has pitched in a pair of scores from the team's defensmen.

Future Augustana Viking Christian Manz has taken the bulk of time in net for Chicago. The Minnesota native has appeared in 12 games with a 4-6-1-1 record, 4.39 GAA and .890 SV%. In backup duty, Luka Cloutier has posted a 1-5-0-0 record, 5.00 GAA and .879 SV% for the Steel.

The matchup is the first of seven between the NTDP and Steel this season. They'll meet again next when Chicago comes to USA Hockey Arena to play the U18s in the annual Kids Day Game on December 13.