The U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 squads will be in action during the Thanksgiving holiday. In a reversal from last week, the U18s return home for a pair of games while the U17s hit the road for two contests.
MORE COLLEGE ACTION: The U18s return to the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Ice Cube for two contests against college opponents. The squad entertains Neumann University at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, followed by a 3:30 p.m. Sunday contest against the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, which is ranked sixth in NCAA Division III.
The U18s won two road games last week, beating the fourth-ranked University of Minnesota 5-4 in overtime on Friday and Augsburg College 6-1 on Saturday.
Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) scored the game-winning goal in overtime to secure the victory at Minnesota. It marked the first win over the Golden Gophers for the National Team Development Program in six attempts. Matthews also scored in regulation, as did Caleb Jones (Frisco, Texas), Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) and Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.). Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) finished with 25 saves in net.
Matthews tallied three goals and added an assist to pace the offense against Augsburg. Tage Thompson (Oyster Bay, N.Y.), Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.) and Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) also scored. Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) kicked out 21 shots to earn the win.
“We had a great team effort last week in our two wins,” head coach Don Granato said. “It was nice for our players to get Team USA’s first-ever win at Minnesota. That is quite an accomplishment.
“We need to enjoy these wins but will get right back to work on Monday and prepare for our weekend opponents. We always have work to do to improve in the defensive zone and on special teams. It is a great situation that we can have two college opponents into the Ann Arbor Ice Cube for two games.”
ROAD TRIP: The U17s head out on the road for two United States Hockey League contests that are separated by 210 miles. The squad travels to Bloomington, Illinois, to face the Thunder on Friday. Then, on Saturday, it goes to Dubuque, Iowa, to play the Fighting Saints.
The U17s dropped a pair of USHL games to Cedar Rapids over the weekend, falling 6-0 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday. Joseph Woll (Dardenne Prairie, Mo.) and Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.) combined for 24 stops between the pipes in the first game. In game two, Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn.) tallied both goals while Oettinger stopped 24 shots.
Tickets for home games played at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube are $7 for adults and $5 for children, seniors and active military members. Youth hockey players wearing their team jerseys are admitted for $1 and group rates are available. Tickets can be purchased at the door or by calling the NTDP at (734) 327-9251.
Tickets are now on sale for the 2014 Under-17 Four Nations Tournament, which will be held Dec. 16-20 at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. The Four Nations will feature teams from Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland and the United States. Each team participates in three round-robin contests before Championship Saturday (Dec. 20), which features a third-place game and championship game. Tournament passes include tickets to all games and are $40 for adults and $20 for seniors and children. Single-day tickets are also available and include access to two games. Prices are $12 for adults, $7 for seniors and children, and $5 for groups of 10 or more. All tickets are general admission. To purchase tickets, call (734) 327-9251 or submit an online ticket order form here.
Former NTDP defenseman Adam Clendening (Niagara Falls, N.Y./2008-10) made his National Hockey League debut for the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, Nov. 20. He scored his first NHL goal on his first shot just four minutes into the contest. Clendening finished the night with 10:41 minutes of ice time, one goal and two blocked shots.
Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif./2009-11) played two hockey games in two different leagues about 1,350 miles apart on Tuesday, Nov. 18. The former NTDP forward began his day with an 11:30 a.m. game for the American Hockey League’s San Antonio Rampage, and recorded three shots on goal. He then jumped on a plane to Los Angeles, where he suited up for the Florida Panthers as an emergency replacement that night, logging 10:36 of playing time.
University of Michigan forward Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor, Mich./2010-12) was selected the Big Ten Conference Second Star of the Week on Nov. 18. Copp tallied four points (3-1) in the Wolverine's two-game sweep of American International.
Northeastern University forward Nolan Stevens (Manhattan Beach, Calif./2012-14) was named the Hockey East Rookie of the Week on Nov. 17. Stevens tallied the game-winning goal and added an assist in a win over the University of New Hampshire.
Twenty-one players with ties to the NTDP were included on NHL Center Scouting’s Preliminary 2015 Players to Watch list, which was released on Nov. 20. Fifteen of the players are currently in the NTDP: goaltenders Michael Lackey and Luke Opilka; defensemen Nicholas Boka (Plymouth, Mich.), Christian Evers (Waukee, Iowa), Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.), Grant Gabriele (Brighton, Mich.), Caleb Jones and Steven Ruggiero (King Parks, N.Y.); and forwards Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y), Christian Fischer, Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.), Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio), Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Brendan Warren (Carleton, Mich.) and Colin White.
Six NTPD alumni were on the list: goalie Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa./2012-14/Michigan State); defensemen Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass./2013-14/Boston College), Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich./2013-14/Michigan), and forwards Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./2012-14/Boston University), Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y./2012-14/Yale) and Dennis Yan (Troy, Mich./2013-14).
Greenway, White, Eichel, Hanifin, and Werenski were each “A” rated prospects, meaning they are projected to be first-round picks in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Jeremy Bracco set the NTDP all-time career assists record with his 89th career helper on Saturday against Augsburg. He moved past J.D. Forrest (Auburn, N.Y./1997-2000), who is serving as a U18 intern assistant coach, and Chicago Blackhawks’ forward Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y./2004-06), who previously shared the record with 88 career assists.
Jeremy Bracco (12-31) paces the U18s with 43 points while Auston Matthews (18-24) ranks second with 42 points. Matthew Tkachuk (13-16) sits third with 29 points. Brendan Warren (11-9), Colin White (10-10) and Christian Fischer (9-11) are tied for fourth with 20 points each.
In goal for the U18s, Michael Lackey and Luke Opilka split time. Opilka is 9-3 with a 2.80 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage while Lackey is 8-2-1 with a 2.80 GAA and an .888 save percentage.
The U17s are led by Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill./14-16) with 30 points. Max Jones (Rochester Mich./11-6) and Nick Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla./7-10) are tied for second with 17 points. Chad Krys (Ridgefield, Conn./1-15) is fourth with 16 points while Joey Anderson (8-6) is fifth with 14 points.
Joseph Woll and Jake Oettinger split time between the pipes for the U17s. Woll is 4-5 with a 3.04 GAA and an .891 save percentage while Oettinger is 4-6 with a 2.97 GAA and a .901 save percentage.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.