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Notebook (Feb. 2) - NTDP Squads Open Five Nations Play

By Becky Olsen, 02/02/15, 11:30AM EST


U17s Head to Russia While U18s Play in Czech Republic.

The U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams head out to their respective Five Nations Tournaments this week. The U17 tournament is in Dmitrov, Russia, while the U18 event takes place in Kravare and Poruba, Czech Republic.

END OF THE INTERNATIONAL ROAD: The U17s play their final international tournament of the year when they head to Russia for the Five Nations. The round-robin event runs from Tuesday to Saturday and features the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the United States.

The U17s open play on Tuesday against the Czech Republic, followed by a Wednesday tilt against Russia, a Thursday game against Finland and the final game against Sweden on Friday.

“Russia has been our nemesis this year. I think we have played well against them, but we will need to find ways to create some more offense, especially five-on-five,” head coach Danton Cole said. “Overall, there are some areas that we can clean up in international play, including the amount of penalties that we have taken. We need to use our speed and ability to move the puck, and when we stick with that, we are a pretty good team.”

The U17s are 8-3 in international play this season. The squad placed second in its first two international competitions, the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Ontario in early November and the Four Nations Tournament in mid-December in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The team has been off since dropping a pair of United States Hockey League games to Bloomington at home on Jan. 24-25.

TOURNAMENT TIME: The U18s open their Five Nations Tournament against Sweden on Wednesday, and then play Russia on Friday, Finland on Saturday and the Czech Republic on Sunday in their second of three international tournaments this year. The squad won its first international tournament of the season, the Four Nations Tournament in Sweden, posting a perfect 4-0 mark, and closes out the year with the Under-18 World Championship in April.

“This is a good test for our squad,” head coach Don Granato said. “This will be our toughest international tournament to date, and I expect that we will see a full compliment of players from the other countries. We are looking for our players to elevate their play and understand what we are continuing to build towards. This is one of the last big steps before the end of the year. We are looking to play with consistency, focus and giving 100 percent effort on each and every shift.”
The U18s enter their Five Nations Tournament with a 27-10-2 (W-L-T) mark and have won five straight contests. The team has been off since Jan. 24-25, when the squad swept a pair of road games at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.


  • Former NTDP and current University of North Dakota defenseman Keaton Thompson (Devils, Lake, N.D./2011-13) was named the National College Hockey Conference Defenseman of the Week for the week of Jan. 19-25. He had one helper and a plus-3 rating in UND’s two-game sweep of Colorado College.
  • Defenseman Adam Clendening (Niagara Falls, N.Y./2008-10) was traded to the Vancouver Canucks from the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 31. He had one goal and 13 points in 38 American Hockey League games with Rockford this season. He also collected one goal and one assist in four games with the Blackhawks after making his NHL debut on Nov. 20, 2014.
  • Connor Carrick (Orland Park, Ill./2010-12) tallied the 20,000th regular-season goal in the AHL’s Hershey Bears history on Jan. 30 to help the Bears to a 6-2 win over Lehigh Valley.
  • Former NTDP defenseman Mike Komisarek (Islip Terrace, N.Y./1999-00), who spent 11 seasons in the NHL with Montreal, Toronto and Carolina, has returned to the University of Michigan as a student assistant coach as he completes his college degree. Komisarek played for the Wolverines from 2000-02.
  • Michigan Tech senior forward Blake Pietila (Brighton, Mich./2009-11) recorded his 100th career point on Jan. 31. He has 43 goals and 57 assists in 141 career contests.
  • Heading into the U17 Five Nations Tournament, Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill./22-30) leads the team with 52 points. Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn./16-14) ranks second with 30 points while Chad Krys (Ridgefield, Conn./3-26) is third with 29 points. Nick Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla./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 (Dardenne Prairie, Mo.) and Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.) split time. Woll is 8-10 with a 2.94 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage while Oettinger is 6-11 with a 2.85 GAA and a .907 save percentage.
  • Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz./28-28) and Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y./17-37) rank one-two on the U18s with 56 and 54 points, respectively. Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./21-27) is third with 48 points while Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio/9-26) is fourth with 35 points. Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill./17-17) rounds out the top five with 34 points.
  • In goal for the U18s, Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) and Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) split time. Opilka is 15-5 with a 3.02 GAA and an .883 save percentage while Lackey is 12-5-2 with a 2.80 GAA and an .893 save percentage.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

U17 Five Nations Schedule

U18 Five Nations Schedule