The U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams will play a combined four road games in the United States Hockey League this week. Team USA has a combined 6-10 record in the USHL.
U17s OFF TO MUSKEGON: The U.S. National Under-17 Team continues its road trip with games against the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Friday and Saturday.
“We need to keep hammering on things we need to work on to improve,” head coach Danton Cole said. “We will continue to work on our transition, from the offensive to the defensive zone and from the defensive zone to the offensive zone. When we do that as a group, we tend to have success. This is going to be important as we continue to prepare for the upcoming Four Nations [Tournament].”
The U17s split a pair of USHL contests over the holiday weekend. They fell 3-2 at Bloomington on Friday before rebounding with a 4-2 win at Dubuque on Saturday. The win over the Fighting Saints was the team’s first in the USHL.
Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn.) tallied a pair of goals while Graham McPhee (Bethesda, Md.) and Keeghan Howdeshell (Brighton, Mich.) had single tallies in the win over Dubuque. Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.) stopped 35 shots between the pipes.
“One of the biggest lessons the guys learned is how to win games and the right away to approach it,” Cole said. “We are usually outmatched our first year in the USHL. If we pay attention to details of the game, we can see the work we must do. It was good to finally get over the hump, and I think we are more comfortable.”
U18s TRAVEL TO YOUNGSTOWN: The U.S. National Under-18 Team goes on the road for games against the Youngstown Phantoms on Friday and Saturday.
“This upcoming weekend is a great trial for our squad as this stretch will definitely test our ability to stay fresh,” head coach Don Granato said. “We are starting a stretch of 10 straight road contests over the course of the next month.”
The team is coming off a weekend sweep of a pair of NCAA Division III opponents. The U18s beat Neumann University 7-1 on Saturday and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point 5-2 on Saturday. Both games were at home.
Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) had two goals and four points to pace the offense against Neumann. Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill./2-1), Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J./1-2) and Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo./1-2) each registered three points while Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio/1-1) finished with two points. Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) earned the start in net, finishing with 19 saves.
Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) led the offense with a pair of goals while Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) stopped 28 of 30 shots in the victory over Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Tkachuk, Terry and Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.) also scored goals.
“We picked up two big wins over NCAA opponents,” Granato said. “We had to work hard as a team to pick up four points. When we work as a team, we can definitely be successful.”
Tickets are now on sale for the 2014 U17 Four Nations Tournament, which will be held Dec. 16-20, at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. The Four Nations will feature squads 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.
Denver University’s Quentin Shore (Denver, Colo./2010-12) and Will Butcher (Sun Prairie, Wis./2011-13), both former National Team Development Program players, were selected as the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Offensive Player and Defenseman of the Week, respectively, for the week of Nov. 17-23. Shore finished with four goals and five points, while Butcher had three points (1-2) in two games.
NTDP alum and current Boston University forward Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./2012-14) was selected the Hockey East Player of the Week on Nov. 24. Eichel recorded four points in BU’s two wins, including the game-winner in overtime against the University of Maine.
Former NTDP blue-liner Trevor Hamilton (Grosse Pte. Farms, Mich./2001-13) plays for the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill./14-18) paces the U17s with 32 points. Chad Krys (2-17) ranks second with 19 points. Max Jones (Rochester Mich./11-6) and Nick Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla./7-10) are tied for third with 17 points each. Rounding out the top five is Joey Anderson (10-6) with 16 points.
Joseph Woll and Jake Oettinger split time between the pipes for the U17s. Woll is 4-6 with a 3.04 goals-against average and an .891 save percentage while Oettinger is 5-6 with a 2.88 GAA and a .906 save percentage.
Auston Matthews (20-25) leads the U18s with 45 points. Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y./12-32) ranks second with 44 points while Matthew Tkachuk (16-19) sits third with 35 points. Jack Roslovic (6-18) is fourth with 24 points, and Christian Fischer (11-12) is fifth with 23 points.
In goal for the U18s, Michael Lackey and Luke Opilka split time. Opilka is 10-3 with a 2.67 GAA and a .900 save percentage while Lackey is 9-2-1 with a 2.74 GAA and an .893 save percentage.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
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