Photo by Rena Laverty
MUSKEGON, Mich. - The U.S. National Under-18 Team used goals from five different skaters to open USHL play with a 5-3 win over the Muskegon Lumberjacks at Mercy Health Arena.
Forwards Sasha Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla.), Jack Devine (Glencoe, Ill.) and Jeremy Wilmer (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) all tallied their fourth goals of the season to keep them tied atop the team leaderboard.
Pastujov opened the scoring just 80 seconds into the game off a Muskegon defensive-zone turnover. The forward poked the loose puck to linemate Dylan Duke (Strongsville, Ohio), who returned the puck to Pastujov for his fourth score of the season.
Defenseman Ty Murchison (Corona, Calif.) doubled the Team USA advantage at 14:16 of the first after he cleaned up a rebound in front of the Lumberjacks cage. Red Savage (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Devine picked up the helpers on Murchison's second goal of the short season.
Devine collected his second point of the night with his fourth goal of the season before the close of the opening period. Luke Hughes (Canton, Mich.) led the breakout, shifted a beautiful no-look drop-pass to Wilmer who found Devine for the 3-0 lead.
Wilmer followed up with the lone goal of the second period off a fine setup from Jack Hughes (Westwood, Mass.). After Liam Gilmartin (Falls Church, Va.) put the puck into the zone, Wilmer dropped a pass for Hughes who dangled around the defense and found the Boston University commit in front of the net to push the lead to 4-0. Wilmer's tally made him the third U.S. skater to pot his fourth of the season on the night.
Muskegon charged in the third with three consecutive goals from Alex Konovalov, Hank Kempf and Dylan Wendt.
Jack Hughes closed out the scoring with an empty-netter with just 25 seconds remaining.
Gibson Homer (Grand Rapids, Mich.) recorded 25 saves to pick up his third win in three appearances this season.
The two teams will complete the home-and-home set tomorrow afternoon at USA Hockey Arena. Puck drop is slated for 4:00 p.m. and limited tickets remain at USAHockeyNTDP.com/tix.
Photo by Rena Laverty
The U.S. National Team defeated the Muskegon Lumberjacks, 7-3 behind a hat trick performance from Cole Caufield(Stevens Point, Wis.).
Caufield opened the scoring for the U17s at 5:03 of the first period on the breakaway. He sent the puck over the glove of Muskegon’s Keegan Karki after collecting a pass from Alex Turcotte (Island Lake, Ill.) at the blue line.
Sasha Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla.) opened the scoring just 80 seconds into the game after a Muskegon defensive-zone turnover. The forward poked the loose puck to linemate Dylan Duke (Strongsville, Ohio) who returned a pass to Pastujov for his fourth score of the season.
Michael Gildon (Plano, Texas) tied the game at three at 9:37 of the second period lifting the puck on the backhand.
Trevor Zegras (Bedford, N.Y.) regained the lead for the U17s at 10:03 of the middle frame. Marshall Warren (Laurel Hollow, N.Y.) sent the puck to Zegras at the top of the left circle who then wristed it beyond Karki on the power play.Ryan Siedem (Madison, N.J.) also picked up an assist on the goal.
A giveaway by Muskegon in the slot resulted in Caufield’s second goal of the game at 4:44 of the third period.
Caufield competed the hat trick at 6:51 of the final frame with help from Matthew Boldy (Millis, Mass.) and Henry Thrun (Southborough, Mass,).
Boldy picked up his second point of the afternoon and gave the U17s the 7-3 lead at the 13:21 mark of the third period.
Muskegon added two goals at 17:11 and 18:30 of the third before John Beecher (Elmira, N.Y.) sealed the 8-5 win with the empty-netter. Boldy tallied his third point of the day with the lone assist.
Both Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.) and Muskegon’s Karki tallied 21 saves.
With the U17s win and the U18s win on the road, Team USA currently sits in first place of the Eastern Conference with 35 points.
The U17s are back in action Saturday (Jan. 20) when the Sioux Falls Stampede come to USA Hockey Arena for Star Wars Night. Tickets are available at USAHockeyNTDP.com/Tix.