Photo by Luke Schmidt (St. Cloud Norsemen)
ST. CLOUD, Minn. - The U.S. National Under-18 Team used goals from 10 different skaters to kick off its season with a 13-2 win over the NAHL's St. Cloud Norsemen Friday evening at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex in Minnesota. Jack Hughes (Westwood, Mass.), Jack Devine (Glencoe, Ill.) and Sasha Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla.) all scored a pair apiece in the Team USA win.
Jeremy Wilmer (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) scored the season's first goal to give Team USA a 1-0 advantage midway through the first. The 5-foot-7 forward took a spinning backhand pass in front of the net and shifted it over the goalie's shoulder to give the U18s a 1-0 lead on the power play.
The Under-18 Team netted three more goals before the end of the period to go into the first break with a 4-0 lead.
Ryan St. Louis (Riverside, Conn.) finished a 3-on-1 breakout for his first goal, before Jack Hughes and Ty Murchison (Corona, Calif.) scored quickly before the end of the first.
St. Cloud got on the scoreboard early in the middle frame, but Minnesota native Justin Janicke (Maple Grove, Minn.) restored the four-goal advantage shortly after.
Liam Gilmartin (Falls Church, Va.) collected the next goal for the U18s and Sasha Pastujov followed a Dylan Duke (Strongsville, Ohio) rebound to make it a 7-1 contest halfway through the hockey game.
After a St. Cloud tally, Devine, celebrating his 17th birthday, extended the lead to 8-2 and then 9-2 in favor of Team USA with a pair of goals.
Pastujov, with his second of the night, Tyler Boucher (Haddonfield, N.J.), Jack Hughes and NTDP newcomer Andre Gasseau (Garden Grove, Calif.) all scored before the end of the game to make the final advantage 13-2 in favor of the NTDP.
Kaidan Mbereko (Aspen, Colo.) played all 60 minutes in net for Team USA, colllecting his first win of the season.
The two teams square off again tomorrow evening. Puck drop is slated for 8:00 p.m. ET in Minnesota.