It will be a split weekend for the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams. The U17s play a pair of United States Hockey League (USHL) contests at the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Ice Cube. The U18s will head out on the road for two college contests.
HOME COOKING: The U17s continue its homestand with a two-game set against the Bloomington Thunder on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 24-25. Game time is set for 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, followed by a 3:30 p.m. contest on Sunday.
“It’s finals week for the players but what time we do have at the rink, we will work on maximizing what we have been doing on the ice,” said head coach Danton Cole. “We will continue to work on our transition game – from offense to defense and defense to offense. When we get the puck, we want to play more quickly.”
The U17s split a pair of games with the Chicago Steel, falling 3-1 on Jan. 16 before rebounding with a 3-2 overtime win on Jan. 17.
Graham McPhee (Bethesda, Md.) scored the lone goal while Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.) stopped 39 shots in game one. In game two, Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn.) scored the game-winner just 39 seconds into the extra period. Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill.) and William Lockwood (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) scored in regulation. Joseph Woll (Dardenne Praire, Mo.) stopped 43 shots between the pipes.
“It was important to see how the guys would respond after Friday’s game,” said Cole. “They played really hard and we had a short turnaround and a short bench. The guys really set the tone in preparation for Saturday. I thought they did an excellent job. We took a 2-0 lead and they tied it at 2-2. The guys reacted and did a nice job to go out and get the win in overtime.”
OFF TO COLLEGE: The U18s return to college action as the squad travels to Huntsville, Alabama, to face the University of Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 24-25. It marks the final weekend of college competition for the U18s.
“This is our last weekend of play before our second international competition of the season,” said head coach Don Granato whose squad is 7-7-2 (W-L-T) versus college foes this season. “We want to play strong as a team and continue to work on the different areas of our game, especially from a defensive stand point.
“We must be careful not too look too far ahead and be prepared for the task at hand. It will be a difficult week in terms of practice as our players are preparing for finals at school.”
The U18s swept Dubuque, posting a 7-1 victory on Jan. 17, and a 4-3 shootout win on Jan. 18.
In the 7-1 win, Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.) paced the offense with two goals and Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) stopped 31 shots to earn the win between the pipes. Caleb Jones (Frisco, Texas), Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.), Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.), Charles McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y.) and Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) also registered goals.
Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis Mo.) scored in the shootout in the game two victory. Bracco, Christian Fischer (Wayne Ill.) and Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) scored in regulation. Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) stopped 34 shots to earn the win.
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.
Team USA is a combined 13-17-0 (W-L-OTL) in USHL play this season.
Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) and Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale, Ill.) played in the 2015 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 13. Both players skated for Team West, which dropped a 7-4 decision to Team East. Masonius scored the first goal for Team West while Floodstrand had one shot on goal.
Former National Team Development Program forward Nick Shore (Denver, Colo./2008-10) made his National Hockey League debut on Jan. 17, for the Los Angeles Kings. He earned 10:35 of ice time and had one shot on goal and had one hit.
Michigan freshman forward Dylan Larkin (Waterford Mich./2012-14) earned Big Ten Conference Second Star honors on Jan. 13. Larkin tallied three goals and earned four points in a two-game sweep of Minnesota.
Boston University forward Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./2012-14) was selected as the Hockey East Rookie of the Week for the third time this season on Jan. 12. He recorded four points (2-2) in a two-game sweep at Wisconsin.
The U17s carry a 14-19 mark into this weekend’s action.
The U17s are led by Clayton Keller (21-29) with 51 points. Joey Anderson (16-13) is second with 29 points while Chad Krys (Ridgefield, Conn./3-24) is third with 27 points. Nick Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla./12-13) and Adam Fox (Jericho, N.Y./3-18) round out the top-five scorers with 25 and 21 points, respectively.
In goal, Joseph Woll and Jake Oettinger share the duties. Woll is 8-9 with a 2.93 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage while Oettinger is 6-10 with a 2.83 GAA and a .906 save percentage.
The U18s are 25-10-0-2 (W-L-OTL-T) this season and are averaging 4.69 goals per game while allowing 3.20 goals.
Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz./27-28) paces the U18s with 55 points. Jeremy Bracco (15-36) ranks second with 41 points while Matthew Tkachuk (20-25) is third with 45 points. Jack Roslovic (9-26) and Christian Fischer (17-17) round out the top-five with 35 and 34 points, respectively.
In goal for the U18s, Michael Lackey and Luke Opilka split time. Opilka is 14-5-0-0 with a 3.07 GAA and an .883 save percentage while Lackey is 11-5-0-2 with a 2.91 GAA and an .891 save percentage.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
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