LAST TIME OUT: The U.S. National Under-18 Team traveled to Kearney, Nebraska and won its weekend series against Tri-City Storm while the U17s had the weekend off. On Saturday night (Mar. 10), Jack Hughes (Orlando, Fla.) led the team to victory with four goals and two assists for a six-point night. Jake Wise (Reading, Mass.), Jonathan Gruden (Rochester, Mich.), Trevor Janicke (Maple Grove, Minn.), and Joel Farabee (Cicero, N.Y.) also scored in the victory with Wise adding two assists for a three-point showing.
The following afternoon (Sunday, Mar. 11), the U18s defeated the Storm for the weekend sweep, 9-5. Fifteen different NTDP skaters recorded at least a point in the victory. Jonathan Gruden (Rochester, Mich.), Bode Wilde (Birmingham, Mich.), Gavin Hain (Grand Rapids, Minn.), Jack Hughes (Orlando, Fla.), Trevor Janicke (Maple Grove, Minn.), Cam York (Anaheim Hills, Calif.), Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass.), Cole Caufield (Stevens Point, Wis.), and Mattias Samuelsson (Voorhees, N.J.) aided in the win with a goal each.
JACK HUGHES SETS NTDP SINGLE SEASON RECORD: With U.S National Under-18 Team forward Jack Hughes’s six-point game on Saturday (Mar. 2), he broke the scoring record during the under-17 season. He surpassed Clayton Keller (2015-16/Arizona Coyotes) and Phil Kessel (2003-05/Pittsburgh Penguins) who each had 82 points during their under-17 seasons. Hughes accomplished this feat in 15 fewer games than Keller and 16 fewer games than Kessel.
Hughes now has 89 points in 47 games; this places him in a tie for seventh place all-time for single-season scoring with Andy Hilbert (1998-99/New York Islanders). He surpassed Jack Eichel (2012-14/Buffalo Sabres) and Sonny Milano (2012-14/Columbus Blue Jackets) who each recorded 87 points during their under-18 seasons. Auston Matthews (2013-15/Toronto Maple Leafs) holds the record with 117 points, Clayton Keller (2015-16/Arizona Coyotes) is second with 107 points, Patrick Kane (2005-06/Chicago Blackhawks) is third with 102 points, Kessel is fourth with 98 points, Matthew Tkachuk (2013-15/Calgary Flames) is fifth with 95 points, and Jeremy Bracco (2013-14/ Toronto Marlies) is sixth with 94 points with all of these records occurring during the player’s under-18 season.
After tallying two assists this past weekend, Hughes moved into fourth place for single-season assists with 61. Keller is atop the list with 70 assists during his under-18 season.
TWO-WAY GAME: Team USA boasts six of the top-ten, including the top three, plus-minus leaders in the USHL. While Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass.) is quickly approaching NTDP career scoring milestones, he also leads the league with a +27 plus-minus rating. USHL rookie Jack Hughes is close behind with at +26 in 22 games played. Others in the top ten include Jonathan Gruden (+22), Bode Wilde (+18), Mattias Samuelsson (+17) and Joel Farabee (+17).
ESPECIALLY SPECIAL TEAMS: Team USA has made its special teams truly special this season though its first 45 games. With the man advantage, the combined U17s and U18s have the top power play percentage (25.1% on 191 opportunities), most power play goals (48) and are tied with Tri-City for the least short handed goals against (2). On the penalty kill, Team USA has killed 140 of the 173 power plays (80.9%) good for 10th best in the league. They have also been deadly on the penalty kill, recording 9 goals while short handed (third best in the league).
GETTING OFFENSIVE: The offense has flowed for the NTDP this season. The combined Team USA teams currently lead the USHL in goals with 219 through 45 games. That’s an average of 4.86 goals per game. By comparison, the Chicago Steel have the second ranked offense with 168 goals through 48 games which averages out to 3.50 goals per game. Team USA is on pace to score more than 292 goals this season; in the USHL last season, only two teams eclipsed 200 goals.
The Under-17 Team’s goals per game is 5.44 through 43 games this season. They have already scored 234 goals this season and are on pace to score 288 goals by season’s end.
1+ POINTS PER GAME PLAYERS: A pair of Team USA players are at the top of the USHL rankings in points per game. In his rookie season in the USHL, Jack Hughes is averaging two points per game. Oliver Wahlstrom is second with 1.76 points per game. The current league-leader in points is Muskegon Lumberjacks forward Anthony Del Gaizo, but he is only averaging a pace of 1.18 PPG.
MILITARY APPRECIATION WEEKEND: Team USA, USA Hockey Arena and sponsors are teaming up with the Michigan Veterans Region 9 VCAT for a weekend (Mar. 23-24) dedicated to supporting and celebrating our veterans, active military and first-responders.
On Friday (Mar. 23), USA Hockey Arena will host USA Military Appreciation and Family Night. We continue a very special tradition as we host a completely cost-free military appreciation night for local military and their families including a reception, fun activities for the kids and hockey game tickets. Over 500 veterans and military family members attended last year.
Saturday, March 24 is USA Salute To Heroes Night. We’ll celebrate veterans from all eras and honor hard-working local first responders to help provide the recognition they deserve.
NTDP ALUMNI PLAY KEY ROLES IN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENTS: Several NTDP alumni have featured heavily as their schools aim to capture their respective tournament championships prior to competing in the NCAA tournament.
Jake Oettinger (2014-16/Boston Univ.) led Boston University to the Hockey East semifinals. Oettinger made 36 saves in BU’s overtime victory against the University of Connecticut. The following night, Oettinger made another 36 saves, allowing only one goal, despite the Terriers being outshot 37 to 19. During the first game, NTDP alumni Jordan Greenway (2013-15/Boston Univ.) and Chad Krys (2014-16/Boston Univ.) both scored. Brady Tkachuk (2015-17/Boston Univ.) and Logan Cockerill (2015-17/Boston Univ.) were responsible for the two goals in the second win.
After losing their first game to Colorado College, the University of Denver had to win their next two games or face elimination. On Saturday, after going down 2-1, Troy Terry (2014-15/Univ. of Denver) led the team to victory with two third period goals for a 3-2 win. The following night, Terry had four assists in the team’s 6-1 victory to move on to the NCHC semifinals where they will face Minnesota Duluth.
The University of Michigan fell in overtime in the Big Ten semifinals to Ohio State University. Quinn Hughes (2015-17/Univ. of Michigan) recorded two assists in the loss. Michigan now awaits the NCAA tournament selection on March 18th. Michigan is ranked 10th in the PairWise rankings used to select the 16 teams giving them pretty-good odds. Denver is ranked fifth on the PairWise rankings also giving them good odds if they fail to gain the automatic entry with a tournament win. BU is currently 18th on the PairWise rankings placing them outside the NCAA tournament selection thus necessitating a tournament victory for an automatic bid.
COLLEGE CHAMPIONS: With the college hockey regular season completed, several alumni are on their respective regular season conference championship teams.
WCHA: Minnesota State: Clint Lewis (2011-13)
BIG TEN: NTDP alum Trevor Hamilton (Penn State University/2011-13) was named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year the league announced Tuesday (March 13). HE was also named to the league’s All-Big Ten First Team.
Quinn Hughes (University of Michigan/2015-17)was named to the Second Team as well as the All-Freshman Team.
Adam Fox (Harvard University/2014-16) was named to the ECAC Conference First Team.
Brady Tkachuk (2015-17/Boston University), and the lone unanimous selection in Boston College’s Logan Hutsko (2015-17/Boston College) were both named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team the league announced.
Casey Fitzgerald (2013-15/Boston College) was named the ‘47 Brand Best Defensive Defenseman.
Fitzgerald and Nolan Stevens (2012-14/Northeastern University) were named to the All-Star Second Team.
FREDERIC JOINS BRUINS: NTDP alum Trent Frederic (University of Wisconsin/2014-16) signed an Amature Tryout Agreement with the Boston Bruins on Tuesday (MArch 13). He will join the Providence Bruins for the remainder of the 2017-18 season. Frederic posted 17 goals and 15 assists for 32 points this season at Wisconsin University.
NTDP IN THE NHL POSTER SERIES: Team USA will feature several of its high-profile alumni in its new NTDP in the NHL poster series giveaway. There will be seven nights throughout the rest of the NTDP home schedule where fans can win Pepsi and Team USA prizes, collect an NTDP alumni poster, and have the chance to win a signed jersey. The first 500 fans at each of the games will receive a NTDP in the NHL alumni poster.
The next game of the series will be this Friday, March 16 as the Under-18 Team takes on the Madison Capitols at 7:00 p.m. EST. The night will feature 2017 Calder Trophy nominee, Zach Werenski (2013-14/Columbus Blue Jackets).
The final night of the series will be Friday, March 30. 2010 World Junior gold medalist and 2009 World Under-18 Championship gold medalist, Cam Fowler (2007-09/Anaheim Ducks) will be the highlighted alumni.
CAUFIELD MOVING UP NTDP ALL-TIME RECORD BOOK: U.S National Under-17 Team forward Cole Caufield scored one goal this past weekend. Caufield is currently seventh on the all-time single-season goals list with 47. He’s already passed notable NTDP alumni: Matthew Tkachuk (2013-15/Calgary Flames), Jack Eichel (2012-14/Buffalo Sabres), and James van Riemsdyk (2005-07/Toronto Maple Leafs).
At the top of the list is Auston Matthews (2013-15/Toronto Maples Leafs) with 55 goals. In second place with 52 goals are Patrick Kane (2005-06/Chicago Blackhawks) and Phil Kessel (2003-05/Pittsburgh Penguins), who recorded 52 goals during both his under-17 and under-18 seasons. Kieffer Bellows (2015-16/Portland Winterhawks) is fifth with 50 goals, and Jeremy Morin (2007-09/SC Bern) is sixth with 48 goals.
TEAM USA OFF TO BEST START SINCE JOINING THE USHL: With a record of 32-12-0-1 (W-L-OTL-SOL) in 45 games played, Team USA is enjoying its best start since rejoining the USHL in 2009. Team USA is in possession of first place in the USHL with 65 points.
JONES AND WERENSKI SET COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS RECORD: Last week, NTDP alum Zach Werenski (2013-14) set a new Columbus Blue Jackets record (Mar. 5) with a goal against the Vegas Golden Knights. The goal was Werenski’s 13 of the season and the most ever in one season by a Blue Jackets defenseman. Fellow NTDP alum Seth Jones (2010-12/ Columbus Blue Jackets) broke Werenski’s week-old record on (March 12) after recording two goals in a Blue Jackets’ win against the Montreal Canadiens. Werenski also recorded a win and is right behind Jones with 14 goals.
The previous record of 12 goals was set in 2005-06 by Bryan Berard and tied by Jones last season.
TEAM USA ALUMNI NOMINATED FOR 2018 HOBEY BAKER AWARD: While no NTDP alumni were named to the Top 10 Finalists for the award, seven NTDP alumni are among the first 74 college hockey players to be nominated for 2018 Hobey Baker Award, given annually to nation’s top collegiate ice hockey player. NTDP alumni include: Joey Anderson (2014-16/University of Minnesota Duluth), Louie Belpedio (2012-14/Miami University), Casey Fitzgerald (2013-15/Boston College), Trent Frederic (2014-16/University of Wisconsin), Troy Terry (2014-15/University of Denver), Ryan Wagner (2013-14/University of Wisconsin) and Joseph Woll (2014-16/Boston College).
The top-10 players from the fan vote will be announced at a later date. When voting for the Hobey Baker Award, fans are asked to keep in mind the qualities that a nominee must display: exhibit strength and character, both on and off the ice; contribute to the integrity of the team; display outstanding skills in all phases of the game; show scholastic achievement and sportsmanship. 17 different USHL teams have alumni represented, including 13 teams with multiple players. The winner will be announced during the Frozen Four on Friday, April 6. Fans can see the full list of nominees and vote for their top-10 finalists here.