ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) notched two goals and added an assist as the U.S. National Under-18 Team pushed past the Muskegon Lumberjacks, 4-1, here this morning at L.C. Walker Arena.
Team USA put the Lumberjacks on notice 3:49 into the first frame scoring on the power play. Matthews found Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.) behind the net with a pass. Fischer then threw the puck to Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) at the top of the right face-off circle and the defenseman launched a shot toward the net. Matthews made the redirect past Muskegon goalie Eric Schierhorn for the goal. The U.S. doubled its lead at 14:32 when Matthews circled around the net and found Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) in front of the crease. Tkachuk deposited the puck into the back of the net on the short side. Fischer registered his second helper on the tally.
Skating a man down early in the second, Tkachuk chipped the puck to Matthews who streaked in alone on a breakaway. Matthews put the puck between Schierhorn's pads to give Team USA a 3-0 lead. Tage Thompson (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) collected his own rebound and lit the lamp 1:26 later. Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) and Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) assisted on Thompson's marker. The Lumberjacks scored in the final moments of the stanza, but the U18s held a 4-1 advantage after 40 minutes.
Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) stopped 24 shots, including 12 in the final frame, to secure victory for Team USA. Schierhorn and Jacob Gwillim combined to make 25 saves in the loss for Muskegon.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team will depart for Sundsvall, Sweden, this Saturday as they prepare for the first international tournament of the 2014-15 season. The Four Nations Tournament will take place from Nov. 5-9, and will feature teams from Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.
Team USA outshot Muskegon, 29-25 ... The U.S. went 1-5 on the power play while the Lumberjacks were 0-6 ... The special start time today was a part of a school-day game promotion for Muskegon ... This was the third of five scheduled matchups between the U18s and Muskegon this season ... The National Team Development Program and Muskegon will meet a total of 10 times this winter, as the U17 Team also plays the Lumberjacks five times ... No other USHL team will play the NTDP as often as Muskegon this season.
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