Photos from Nick Nelson / North Dakota Athletics
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Tyler Muszelik (Long Valley, N.J.) made 17 saves in his first shutout of the season as the U.S. National Under-18 Team topped the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks on New Year's Day at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The win marked the team's 10th of the year over collegiate opponents and Team USA's first ever win over North Dakota in the 12th ever matchup between the squads.
After a scoreless opening frame, Rutger McGroarty (Lincoln, Neb.) opened the game's scoring 64 seconds into the middle period. Logan Cooley (Pittsburgh, Pa.) collected a loose puck in the offensive zone and centered a backhand feed to McGroarty in the high slot. The captain showcased his elite release and delivered his wrister in the top corner of the net for a 1-0 USA lead.
Just over five minutes into the third period, the U18s turned defense into offense quickly to double the lead. After a Fighting Hawks neutral-zone turnover, Frank Nazar (Mount Clemens, Mich.) raced up ice with Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.) flanked to the left wing. Nazar faked a shot to draw the defender and slid a pass to Howard who roofed his shot for his 14th score of the season.
Muszelik was consistent in net all afternoon and started the day killing a pair of USA penalties in the first period. The New Hampshire commit turned aside five, five and seven Fighting Hawks shots in the three periods for his first shutout of the season.
After an off day tomorrow, the U18s are back to their Kroger College Series Monday evening when they take on the University of Minnesota. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. ET from 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis.