Photo by Rena Laverty
PLYMOUTH, Mich. -- Cole Caufield (Stevens Point, Wis.) scored six goals and seven U18 players netted one goal apiece in the U18’s 12-4 victory against the Green Bay Gamblers on Friday, Mar. 15, at USA Hockey Arena.
The U18’s record improves to 36-11-2-1 (W-L-OTL-SOL), and Team USA’s combined record in USHL play is 25-17-2-4. The Gamblers record now stands at 15-27-6-3 (W-L-OTL-SOL).
Caufield gave the U18s its initial lead just 37 seconds in to play when he snagged the puck from the side of the net, sending it top shelf past Gamblers goaltender Maksim Zhukov.
At 3:43, Trevor Zegras (Bedford, N.Y.) doubled the U18s lead. Zegras caught Henry Thrun’s (Southborough, Mass.) cross-ice breakaway pass, sending the puck five hole.
Twenty-three seconds later, Caufield went backhand-forehand on a breakaway to score his second of the night, giving the U18s a 3-0 lead within the first five minutes of the game.
With 1:53 remaining in the period, Gamblers forward Benito Posa put his team on the board, with assists from Chase Pilawski and Tanner Dickerson.
Alex Turcotte (Island Lake, Ill.) sealed the U18’s 4-1 lead with 30 seconds to go. Turcotte snagged the puck in front of the net, tucking it five hole.
Team USA outshot the Gamblers by a margin of 19-8 through the first frame.
At 3:10 of the second period, Patrick Moynihan’s (Millis, Mass.) slapshot from Turcotte’s no-look pass gave the U18s a 5-1 lead.
Three minutes later, Matthew Boldy (Millis, Mass.) extended the U18s lead to 6-1 off of a pass from Jack Hughes (Orlando, Fla.), sending a backhand shot past Ryan Ullan’s glove.
Tanner Dickerson scored to reduce the U18’s lead to 6-2 with 1:30 left in the period.
Team USA had an explosive and record-breaking third period, recording six goals to earn a 12-4 victory.
Caufield recorded his first hat trick of the game at 1:49 of the third with a one-timer from Hughes. Seven minutes later, Caufield tallied a fourth goal with a slap shot from the slot.
Matthew Beniers (Hingham, Mass.) recorded his first goal with the U18s and eleventh of the season on a breakaway, tucking the puck into the corner of the net with 9:17 to go in the third.
Noah Prokop scored Green Bay’s third of the game with 8:07 remaining, with an assist from Xan Gurney.
Michael Gildon (Plano, Texas) responded one minute and 34 seconds later to regain Team USA’s seven-goal lead.
Caufield’s fifth of the game came with 6:07 to go in the third period, sending the puck glove-side from the top of the circle.
Gambler Nick Leitner scored the team’s fourth and final goal with 4:37 remaining in the final frame.
Caufield tallied his sixth goal of the game and the 12th goal for Team USA to gain sole possession of the NTDP career goals record with 105. Hughes tallied an assist on the play, earning him sole possession of the NTDP career points record with 190.
NOTES: The U18s outshot Green Bay 44-20… The U18s were 1-for-1 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill… Matthew Beniers earned Third Star of the game… Jack Hughes earned Second Star of the game… Cole Caufield earned First Star of the game.
The U18s return to action against the Gamblers at USA Hockey Arena tomorrow, Mar. 16. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 p.m. ET. Tickets for all home games can be purchased online at USAHockeyNTDP.com/Tix, by calling 734-453-6400, or visiting the box office.