LAST TIME OUT: The U17s swept the Youngstown Phantoms in a pair of home games last Friday and Saturday, first winning, 5-4, in a shootout before skating to a 10-4 win. Cutter Gauthier (Scottsdale, Ariz.) provided the heroics in the first game, making his shot to lift the U17s in the shootout, and the team showed off its balanced offense when 10 different skaters notched goals in the second win.
The U18s notched two more Kroger College Series wins, a 7-4 victory over Adrian College and an 8-1 win against Trine University, and defeated Muskegon 7-3 to extend their win streak to seven straight games, and 11 wins in the last 12 contests.
LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN: The U.S. National Under-18 Team enters the weekend having won seven straight decisions, dating back to January 3’s 5-2 win over the Youngstown Phantoms. The U18s have outscored their opponents by a combined 46-16 margin during that stretch, which includes four wins over NCAA competition. Overall, the team has won 11 of their last 12 going back to a 5-4 shootout win over Air Force Academy on December 12.
HUGHES NEWS: U18 defenseman Luke Hughes (Canton, Mich.) has found his groove on the offensive end. The 6-foot-2 blueliner just ended a nine-game point streak that saw him accumulate 18 points (5g-13a), including six multi-point efforts. Hughes leads all NTDP defensemen with 25 points (6g-19a) over 23 games this season. The University of Michigan commit was an A-ranked skater on NHL Central Scouting’s initial 2021 NHL Draft list.
KING DUKE: Forward Dylan Duke (Strongsville, Ohio) has hit his scoring stride of late as he has produced six goals over his last five games played, including a pair of multi-goal outings in two wins over Adrian College. The future Michigan Wolverine has added three assists over his five-game scoring streak and his 13 goals on the season places him second on the U18s.
ICE COLD COOLEY: Logan Cooley (West Mifflin, Pa.) continued his impressive point streak over the weekend, notching three goals and two assists for five points across three games, including the U18s' 7-3 victory over Muskegon. The 5-10 forward (11g-14a--25p) has tallied at least a point in every game dating back to Dec. 5 against the Janesville Jets, good for eight goals and 16 points in the stretch.
BALANCED OFFENSE: Nine skaters are recording at least a point this season, a testament to the U17s' balanced offense. Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.), the team's leading scorer with 19 goals, 17 assists and 36 points, is averaging 1.71 points, while Rutger McGroarty (Lincoln, Neb.) and Logan Cooley are each averaging 1.25 points per contest.
SUCCESS FROM THE BLUE LINE: The U17 D corps has been stellar on both sides of the ice this season. Five defensemen, including Seamus Casey (Estero, Fla.), Ryan Chesley (Mahtomedi, Minn.), Tyler Duke (Strongsville, Ohio), Lane Hutson (Barrington, Ill.) and Charlie Leddy (Fairfield, Conn.) have recorded double-digit points so far this season. Chesley leads the defensive unit with nine goals, 14 assists and 23 points, and notched a pair of goals in the U17s' sweep of the Youngstown Phantoms last weekend.
HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE: As fans begin to return to USA Hockey Arena, Team USA has found its stride at home. The U18s are 8-1-0-0 at home while the U17s are 8-2-0-0 in 10 games. Team USA will host a total of 12 games in Plymouth during the month of January where they will look to continue the team success.
WELCOME TO THE SQUAD: The NTDP has added a quartet of players that will get an extended look with their respective teams. The Under-18 Team has added a trio of forwards, including Owen McLaughlin (Spring City, Pa.), who previously appeared in a pair of games this season. Matthew McGroarty (Westport, Conn.), a Quinnipiac University commit, and Nick Roukounakis (Pembroke, Mass.), headed to Boston University, also join the U18s. The Under-17 Team added blueliner Ben Robertson (Potomac Falls, Va.), who currently plays for Mount St. Charles Academy 16U in Rhode Island and will be attending Cornell University for college.
FIRST-TIMER: NTDP alum Josh Norris (Ottawa Senators / NTDP 2015-17) lit the lamp Tuesday evening for his first National Hockey League goal. Norris recorded 61 points (31g-30a) in 56 games for the AHL’s Belleville Senators last season en route to being named the Dudley Garrett Memorial Award Winner, given to the league’s most outstanding rookie. The Oxford, Michigan, native skated in one World Under-18 Championship for Team USA and a pair of World Junior Championships in 2018 and 2019.
TERRIFIC 23: Twenty members of the 2020-21 U.S. National Under-18 Team and three former NTDP players were named to the National Hockey League Central Scouting's first rankings ahead of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. All 20 age-eligible U18 skaters for the draft were rated on the opening list.
AS GOOD AS GOLD: Fifteen NTDP alumni became the latest skaters from the program to win an IIHF World Junior Championship after Team USA shut out Canada, 2-0, in the gold-medal game of the 2021 tournament in Edmonton, Alberta on Jan. 5. Forwards Alex Turcotte and Trevor Zegras scored goals en route to the U.S. victory, and Spencer Knight stopped all 34 shots he faced to blank our neighbors to the north.
In addition, Zegras was named the MVP after leading the tournament in scoring with 18 points in seven games, good for second-most points by an American player in tournament history.
MOVING ON UP: NTDP alum and volunteer assistant coach Kevin Porter (Northville, Mich. / NTDP 2002-04) accepted an assistant coach position with the AHL's Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins this week. The job officially marks the end of Porter's playing career, which includes a Hobey Baker Award and Stanley Cup Championship. Porter joins fellow NTDP alum JD Forrest on the coaching staff of the WBS Penguins.
THE MICHIGAN MAN: NTDP alum Dylan Larkin (NTDP 2012-14/Detroit Red Wings) was named the Red Wings' 37th captain in franchise history before the open of the 2020-21 NHL season on Wednesday. Larkin has played exclusively out of the state of Michigan during his career, playing his youth hockey at Belle Tire, at the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, collegiately at the University of Michigan and professionally with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins and NHL's Red Wings. The Wings open the season hosting the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday evening at Little Caesars Arena.