Both the U.S. National Team Under-17 and Under-18 Teams have byes this week before leaving for their respective Five Nations Tournaments next week.
CZECH IT OUT: The U18s open their 2015 Five Nations Tournament on Feb. 1, in the Czech Republic. Also competing there is the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden.
“This will be good for us to get a solid week of practice and lifting in this week before we head to our second international tournament,” head coach Don Granato said. “It will be good to be on the ice and have time to work on drills. We need to continue to work on tightening up our defensive zone coverage.”
The U18s swept a pair of road games at the University of Alabama in Huntsville this past weekend, posting a 2-1 overtime victory on Saturday and a 4-2 win on Sunday. The team finished 9-7-2 (W-L-T) versus college foes this season.
Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) scored the game winner 4:20 into the extra session on Saturday. Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) scored the other goal in regulation while Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) stopped 16 shots to earn the win between the pipes.
Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) potted third-period goals just 17 seconds apart to propel Sunday’s win. Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) kicked out 11 shots while Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) and Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) posted second-period goals.
NO RUSH TO RUSSIA: The U17s open their Five Nations Tournament on Feb. 3, in Russia. The Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden round out the field.
The U17s dropped a pair of games to the United States Hockey League’s Bloomington Thunder this weekend, falling 3-2 on Saturday and 4-1 on Sunday.
In game one, Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill.) and Keeghan Howdeshell (Brighton, Mich.) tallied the goals while Joseph Woll (Dardenne Prairie, Mo.) stopped 22 shots. Nick Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla.) scored the lone goal on Sunday while Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.) finished with 34 stops.
“One thing that will be nice is that we get [Griffin] Luce and [Max] Jones back this week, so we will finally have a full lineup,” said head coach Danton Cole. “We will practice on the Olympic sheet for a few days and get used to that. We will work on details on systems and tighten some things up and get ready for the international games. We need to get used to the ice and the pace.”
Austin Czarnik (Washington, Mich./2008-10/Miami), Nick Mattson (Chanhassen, Minn./2007-09/North Dakota) and Michael Paliotta (Westport, Conn./2009-11/Vermont) were among the 20 NCAA Div. I players selected for the 2014-15 Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a nominee must be classified as an NCAA DI senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Former National Team Development Program and current University of Notre Dame defenseman Robbie Russo (Westmont, Ill./2009-11) was selected as the Hockey East Player of the Week on Jan. 19. Russo tallied four goals, including a hat trick and earned one assist in the Fighting Irish win and tie against the University of Connecticut. His hat trick marked the first by a Notre Dame defenseman since 1988.
Columbus forward Nick Foligno (Hummelstown, Pa./2003-04) served as one of the captains for the 2015 NHL All-Star game. His team won the All-Stars Skills competition but dropped a 17-12 decision in the All-Star game.
U17 forward Zach Walker (Boise, Idaho) saw his first action of the season against Bloomington. He collected an assist in the first game.
The U18s are 27-10-2 (W-L-T) this season and have won five straight contests.
Auston Matthews (27-29) leads the U18s with 56 points while Jeremy Bracco (17-37) ranks second with 54 points. Matthew Tkachuk (21-26) is third with 47 points. Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio/10-26) and Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill./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 15-5 with a 3.02 goals-against average and an .883 save percentage while Lackey is 12-5-2 with a 2.80 GAA and an .893 save percentage.
The U17s carry a 14-21 mark into this weekend’s action.
The U17s are led by Clayton Keller (22-30) with 52 points. Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn./16-14) is second with 30 points while Chad Krys (Ridgefield, Conn./3-26) is just one point behind in third with 29 points. Nick Pastujov (13-13) and Adam Fox (Jericho, N.Y./3-20) round out the top five with 26 and 23 points, respectively.
In goal for the U17s, Joseph Woll and Jake Oettinger share the duties. Woll is 8-10 with a 2.94 GAA and a .902 save percentage while Oettinger is 6-11 with a 2.85 GAA and a .907 save percentage.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
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