The U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 squads are both in action this week. The U18s hit the road for a pair of college contests while the U17s return to United States Hockey League action with two games.
NORTH STAR STATE SHOWDOWN: The U18 Team heads north to Minneapolis this weekend to face the University of Minnesota on Friday and Augsburg College on Saturday.
“We have a tough weekend of games,” head coach Don Granato said. “We are going to see two different teams with different styles. We will continue to work on different areas of our game as we prepare for Minnesota and Augsburg.”
Minnesota was ranked No. 4 in the most recent USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine College Hockey Poll. Augsburg plays in Division III.
The U18s swept a pair of USHL opponents over the weekend, beating Bloomington 4-3 in a shootout on Friday and Muskegon 9-3 on Sunday.
Brendan Warren (Carleton, Mich.) scored the game-winning goal in the eight-round shootout against Bloomington. Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.), Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Caleb Jones (Frisco, Texas) tallied the goals in regulation. Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) finished with 29 saves and stopped all eight shootout attempts.
A five-goal second period propelled the U18s over Muskegon. Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.), Christian Evers (Waukee, Iowa), Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale, Ill.), Matthews and Warren all scored in the period. Warren also scored a second goal, while Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.), Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) and Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) rounding out the scoring. Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) finished with 19 stops between the pipes.
“We had a good weekend, beating two tough USHL opponents,” Granato said. “There are always areas of the game that we must work on, and we will watch video and start preparations for our next opponents.”
BYE TO THE BYE WEEK: Fresh off a bye week following their second-place showing at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Sarnia, Ontario, the U17s return to action with a pair of games against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders on Friday and Saturday. Cedar Rapids enters this week’s play with a 13-2 record.
The U17s have been off since Nov. 8 when they dropped a 2-1 decision to Russia in the championship game of World U17 Challenge.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
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