LAST TIME OUT: The U17s traveled east to New York last weekend for a trio of games against a pair of Division III college programs as part of the 2020-21 Kroger College Series. The U17s went 2-1-0 over the weekend, dropping the first game, 6-5, to Utica College and bouncing back with a 3-0 win over the Pioneers before rounding out the weekend with a 9-2 victory over the Elmira College Soaring Eagles.
Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.) tallied five goals over the weekend while Frank Nazar III (Mount Clemens, Mich.) dished out four assists.
HAT TRICK MOOD(S): Isaac Howard and Charlie Stramel (Rosemount, Minn.) each netted hat tricks against Elmira and Utica last weekend. Howard tallied three goals in Thursday's 6-5 loss to the Pioneers to notch his second career NTDP hatty, and Stramel earned his first in the U17s' 9-2 win over the Soaring Eagles.
CRUZIN': Cruz Lucius (Grant, Minn.) notched six points over the weekend in New York, including three goals and three assists and a three-point game on Feb. 14. The forward now has nine goals and 20 helpers for 29 points in as many games.
STREAKING OUT: Seamus Casey (Estero, Fla.) has tallied at least a point in every game dating back to Jan. 23. In that seven-game stretch, the defenseman has recorded three goals and 10 points. Casey is tied with Ryan Chesley (Mahtomedi, Minn.) for the scoring lead among defensemen.
SHUTOUT SEASON: U18 goaltender Kaidan Mbereko (Aspen, Colo.) picked up his first career NTDP shutout when he blanked the Utica College Pioneers, 3-0, last Friday night in New York. Mbereko turned aside all 26 shots he saw as he picked up his 10th win of the season over the weekend. On the season, the second-year netminder has posted a 2.81 GAA and .894 SV% across 15 games of action.
POWERED BY PASTA: Forward Sasha Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla.) has been crucial to the team's power-play success since returning to the lineup from injury. In the two games at Arizona State, the University of Notre Dame commit picked up three points on the man advantage with two goals and an assist, adding to his team-leading PPG total, which now stands at six. On the year, the Under-18 team has 38 power-play goals, converting at a 29.5% clip.
DOUBLE DIGITS: Defenseman Roman Schmidt (Midland, Mich.) collected an assist in Utica to push his season total to 10 points with a power-play goal and nine helpers. The total gives all 21 U18 skaters double digits in points on the season. The next goal from Ethan Straky (Ormond Beach, Fla.), who has 11 assists on the year, will put every member in the goal column as well.
SUNDAY FUNDAY: The U18 squad enters the weekend a perfect 5-0-0 in games played on Sunday this season. Most recently, they topped the Youngstown Phantoms in a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory on January 31, capped by a Liam Gilmartin (Falls Church, Va.) OT winner. After Sunday's contest against Green Bay, the U18s are scheduled to play two more Sunday afternoon games this season.
TREMENDOUS 25: Twenty members of the 2020-21 U.S. National Under-18 Team and five former NTDP players were named to the National Hockey League Central Scouting's midseason rankings ahead of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. All 20 age-eligible U18 skaters for the draft were rated on the opening list.
In addition, Owen McLaughlin (Spring City, Pa.) and Nick Roukounakis (Pembroke, Mass.), who have each appeared in five games for the U18s this season, were both listed as C-rated skaters.
HOBEY BAKER WATCH: Six former NTDP players were nominated for the 2021 Hobey Baker Award, presented to college hockey's top player. Matthew Boldy (Boston College / NTDP 2017-19), Cole Caufield (University of Wisconsin /NTDP 2017-19), David Farrance (Boston University / NTDP 2015-17), Logan Hutsko (Boston College / NTDP 2015-16), Spencer Knight (Boston College / NTDP 2017-19 and Cam York (University of Michigan / NTDP 2017-19) were all named to the list of nominees.
The list will be pared down to 10 finalists before going to a selection committee to be decided. The NTDP has had 26 Hobey Baker Finalists and six winners.