It will be a busy weekend in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams play a combined four United States Hockey League contests at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. Team USA has combined for a 10-16-0 mark in USHL play this season.
HOSTING THE STEEL: The U17s return home to face the Chicago Steel in a two-game set on Friday and Saturday at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. Face-off is set for 7 p.m. ET on Friday and 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
“The biggest thing is that we need to compete hard on each shift in order to have some success this weekend,” head coach Danton Cole said. “Our players are realizing how hard they have to work each shift in order to get points in the USHL. They are starting to figure it out.”
The U17s dropped a two-game set at first-place Cedar Rapids over the weekend, falling by identical 4-2 scores each night.
HOSTING THE SAINTS: The U18s return to the Ann Arbor Ice Cube for a pair of games against the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Game one is set for 7 p.m. Saturday followed by a 3:30 p.m. game on Sunday.
“We will continue to work on different areas of our game as we prepare for Dubuque,” head coach Don Granato said. “We played shorthanded last Saturday at Chicago, but the players worked hard and found a way to win. We need to have that continued effort and focus on each game.”
The U18s split their weekend road games, falling 4-1 at Michigan State University on Friday before beating the Chicago Steel 6-2 on Saturday.
Against Chicago, Tage Thompson (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) netted a hat trick and Matthews scored a pair of goals while Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) had a single tally. Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) earned the win with 21 stops.
Eight former National Team Development Program players will participate in the 2015 National Hockey League All-Star game. Forwards Nick Foligno (Hummelstown, Pa./2003-04/Columbus), Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y./2004-06/Chicago) and Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis./2003-05/Toronto); defensemen Justin Faulk (South St. Paul, Minn./2008-10/Carolina), Erik Johnson (Bloomington, Minn./2004-06/Colorado), Kevin Shattenkirk (New Rochelle, N.Y./2005-07/St. Louis) and Ryan Suter (Madison, Wis./2001-03/Minnesota); and netminder Jimmy Howard (Ogdensburg, N.Y./2001-02/Detroit) will participate on Jan. 25, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
The American Hockey League announced its roster for the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic, which takes place Jan. 25-26, in Utica, New York, and two former NTDP players will participate. Forward Nick Shore (Denver, Colo./2008-10/Manchester) will play for the Eastern Conference while Drew Shore (Denver, Colo./2007-09/San Antonio) will represent the Western Conference.
Forward Frankie Vatrano (East Longmeadow, Mass./2010-12) was named the Hockey East Player of the Month for December. He tied for the national lead in scoring during the month with nine points (6-3) in five games for the University of Massachusetts.
Boston University forward Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./2012-14) was selected as the Hockey East Rookie of the Month for December. It marked the third time he has earned monthly honors from Hockey East after earning Rookie of the Month honors for October and Player of the Month honors for November. During the month of December, Eichel registered six assists in just three contests.
The U17s carry a 13-18 mark into this week’s action.
Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill./20-29) leads the U17s with 49 points while Joey Anderson (15-12) is second with 27 points. Chad Krys (3-23) is third with 26 points and Nick Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla./12-13) is fourth with 25 points. Rounding out the top five is Adam Fox (Jericho, N.Y./3-18) with 21 points.
In goal for the U17s, Joseph Woll and Jake Oettinger share the duties. Woll is 7-9 with a 3.00 goals-against average and an .898 save percentage. Oettinger is 6-9 with a 2.82 GAA and a .904 save percentage.
The U18s are 23-10-2 this season and are averaging 4.69 goals per game while allowing 3.20 goals.
Auston Matthews (27-26) paces the U18s with 53 points. Jeremy Bracco (13-35) ranks second with 48 points while Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./20-23) is third with 43 points. Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill./16-17) and Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio/8-24) round out the top-five with 33 and 32 points, respectively.
In goal for the U18s, Michael Lackey and Luke Opilka split time. Opilka is 13-5-0-0 (W-L-OTL-T) with a 3.09 GAA and an .881 save percentage while Lackey is 10-5-0-2 with a 3.02 GAA and an .885 save percentage.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
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