The U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams are prepping for their first international breaks. The U17s will head to the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge this week while the U18s play a single United States Hockey League contest before heading to Sweden for the Four Nations Tournament.
READY FOR A CHALLENGE: The U17s begin play in their first international tournament of the season, the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, on Sunday. The tournament in Sarnia, Ontario, was previously held in late December.
Eight teams are split into two groups. Team USA is in Group B along with Canada Red, Slovakia and Sweden. The other Group consists of Canada Black, Canada White, Finland and Russia.
Team USA will face Canada White in a pre-tournament game at 7 p.m. ET this Friday at the RBC Centre in Sarnia before opening the tournament with a Sunday matinee against Sweden. The team then plays Slovakia on Monday and Canada Red on Tuesday. The quarterfinals begin on Thursday, Nov. 6.
“This will be a good measuring stick for our squad,” said head coach Danton Cole. “The USHL is always testing for us. The key thing as we prepare for the World Challenge is we need to stress the positive things we have been able to accomplish. We need to look at the little things and not look at the scoreboard, and take those victories such as winning a period.
“It’s a good event and comes at a good time for our squad. It is a tough run, but it will be good for us.”
Team USA has captured top honors at the World U17 Challenge four times (2001, 2002, 2010, 2014) and finished second on five occasions (1999, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012). This will mark the third time that Cole has taken the U17s to the World Challenge. His previous squads placed second in 2011 in his first trip and third at the 2013 event.
The U17s dropped a pair of games to Tri-City over the weekend. They fell 4-2 on Friday and 5-1 on Saturday. In game one, Max Jones (Rochester, Mich.) and William Lockwood (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) tallied the goals while Joseph Woll (Dardenne Prairie, Mo.) finished with 33 saves. Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn.) scored the lone goal while Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.) made 34 saves in game two.
ONE FOR THE ROAD: The U18s head out to Muskegon for a 10:30 a.m. ET game against the Lumberjacks on Wednesday before leaving Saturday for Sweden to take part in the Four Nations Tournament. It is the team’s first international tournament this season.
“We want to play strong as a team and continue to work on the different areas of our game,” head coach Don Granato said. “We must be careful not too look too far ahead and be prepared for the task at hand.”
The U18s dropped a pair of college games over the weekend, falling at Cornell University 3-2 on Friday and at Oswego State University 5-3 on Saturday.
Against Cornell, Tage Thompson (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) and Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) registered the goals. Former NTDP forward Jared Fiegl (Parker, Colo./2012-14) had a goal and an assist for Cornell. Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) stopped 13 shots in net.
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