OXFORD, Ohio - Three different players scored and goaltender Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) turned in a 25-save shutout to help lead the U.S. National Under-18 Team to a 3-0 victory over No. 9-ranked Miami University at Goggin Ice Center tonight.
Team USA opened the scoring at 17:46 of the first period on a goal by Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.). Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) started the play when he chipped the puck behind the net to Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.). Bracco took the pass, moved to his right and fed Tkachuk in the slot, who sent a one-timer over Miami goaltender Jay Williams' glove.
Neither team found the back of the net in the middle frame despite 10 shots each way. Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.) doubled the U.S. lead at 7:00 of the third period with a tight-angle goal. After Bracco batted the puck low into the zone, Fitzgerald swooped in, cut towards the goal and banked a shot off Williams' leg and in. Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) also assisted on the tally.
Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) sealed the win with a power-play marker at 18:21. Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) won a battle in the corner and sent a pass to Matthews in the slot. Matthews quickly fired the puck into the top corner.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team returns to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to play the University of Michigan on Monday (Oct. 6). Opening face-off at Yost Ice Arena is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. ET.
Team USA outshot Miami, 32-25 … The Under-18 Team went 1-for-7 on the power play, while the RedHawks were held without a goal in three opportunities … The U.S. is now 2-0-0 all-time against Miami … The shutout was Opilka's second during his time at the National Team Development Program … It was the NTDP's first shutout against an NCAA Division I program since Jan. 22, 2013, when Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif./2012-13) made 22 saves in a 3-0 win over Michigan State University … Matthew Tkachuk has registered at least one point in six consecutive games and has goals in six of eight outings this season … Jeremy Bracco now has a team-leading 14 points ... Boston Bruins draft pick Ryan Donato (Boston, Mass.) skated with Team USA and will remain with the squad until after the contest versus Michigan on Monday.
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