Photo by Rena Laverty
PLYMOUTH, Mich. - Will Smith (Lexington, Mass.) collected his fourth five-point game of the season to hit 100 points this season, Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) netted a pair of goals to tie the U17 single-season record and Trey Augustine (South Lyon, Mich.) recorded his first shutout this season as the U.S. National Under-18 Team raced past the Muskegon Lumberjacks, 10-0, Saturday night at USA Hockey Arena.
Team USA jumped out to a quick start with two goals in 21 seconds midway through the opening period. Oliver Moore (Mounds View, Minn.) got the squad on the board as he ripped a quick wrister from his off-wing after feeds from Will Vote (Arlington, Mass.) and Cole Hutson (Barrington, Ill.).
Right after the ensuing draw, Ryan Fine (Center Moriches, N.Y.) made a great play to force a turnover in the U.S. attacking zone. The puck got free to Danny Nelson (Maple Grove, Minn.), who shifted a pass to Beckett Hendrickson (Minetonka, Minn.) for a one-timer goal and 2-0 lead.
Augustine shut the door on Muskegon's best chance of the period after the Lumberjacks were awarded a penalty shot late in the frame. The Michigan State commit got a pad on Sacha Boisvert's attempt to keep a clean slate.
The Under-18 Team blew the game open in the middle period with a quartet of scores to take a 6-0 lead after 40 minutes. Gabe Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill.) collected his 45th goal of the season after he finished a one-timer from the right circle. Zeev Buium (San Diego, Calif.) and Smith earned helpers on the 3-0 goal.
Eiserman netted his NTDP-leading 53rd score of the season after he took the shoot option on a 2-on-1 break with Vote. Moore and Hutson worked the puck from the defensive zone to give both skaters a multi-point night. Hutson's assist was his 49th point of the season, tying him for the all-time NTDP single-season point mark by a U17 defenseman.
At 12:25, Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) got rewarded after a tough shift as he found a rebound in front and deposited it past Raythan Robbins for goal 41 on the season. Kai Janviriya (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) took the initial shot to grab an assist, while Smith picked up the secondary helper.
It was Smith's turn to get into the scoring column to extend the U.S. lead to six before the close of the period. Eiserman rimmed a puck around the boards to spring Smith in alone behind the 'Jacks defense. The future BC Eagle went forehand-backhand-forehand and flipped his shot into the top corner.
The U18s added four more goals in the first half of the final period to push the final margin to 10-0. Smith grabbed his second of the game after a goalmouth scramble to give him back-to-back scores in the game.
Salvatore Guzzo (Old Tappan, N.J.) picked off a Lumberjacks pass and fired in 30 seconds later for his 14th of the year.
Team USA's ninth goal helped break some milestones as Smith found Eiserman along the wing for his 54th goal of the season, tying the NTDP's all-time U17 single-season goal record with Cole Caufield. The assist gave Smith 100 points on the season, just the seventh player in NTDP history to hit the century mark.
Janviriya capped the scoring with a shorthanded snipe at 8:24 of the third.
Augustine made 22 saves for his first clean slate of the season and second of his NTDP career. The win pushed his incredible record to 22-0-2 on the year.
The U18s are off next weekend before they get a rematch with the Lumberjacks on Tuesday, March 28 to kick off the Chipotle-USA Hockey Tier 1 14U National Championships at USA Hockey Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. from Plymouth, Michigan.