Both the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams will face United States Hockey League opponents on the road this week. The U17s will hit two different states for two different opponents while the U18s travel to Wisconsin for a pair of contests against the Madison Capitols. Team USA is a combined 14-20-0 (W-L-OTL) in USHL play this season.
U17s GO WEST: The U17s head to Omaha to face the Lancers on Friday before going north to play the Sioux Falls Stampede on Saturday.
“We have two tough games at Omaha and Sioux Falls this weekend,” head coach Danton Cole said. “More than anything, we are starting to get a feel — either system-wise or how we want to play — for [the game being] more second nature. We work on that and the pace we want to play at. With no school this week, we will have three good practices before we leave on Thursday. We want to get everyone healthy and rested up for this weekend.”
The U17s split a pair of USHL contests against the Madison Capitols over the weekend.
In Friday’s 4-3 overtime win, Max Jones (Rochester, Mich.) scored the game-winner and Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.) stopped 36 of 39 shots to earn the win. William Lockwood (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) scored two goals and James Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) had a single goal in regulation.
“When we get wins in this league, there are certain things that we need to do, and all 20 guys need to be physical and we need to get good goaltending,” Cole said. “We have to put ourselves in position for those things to go right. On Friday night, we did a heck of job, and on Saturday, we battled and put ourselves in a decent position going into the third period, but we just couldn’t get ourselves over the hump. The first week back from Europe is always tough.”
U18s HEAD TO MADISON: Following a bye week, the U18s head to Madison to face the Capitols in a two-game set on Friday and Saturday.
“For our players, we are coming off a bye week and they were able to go home last weekend and get some down time before the final stretch run,” said head coach Don Granato, whose squad is 8-2 in its last 10 contests. “We are looking for a good week of practice before we head out to face Madison in a two-game set. We want to finish out the year strong and work on some of our systems and different areas of our game.”
The U18s have been off since finishing second at the 2015 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic.
Former National Team Development Program forward Ryan Hartman (West Dundee, Ill./2010-12) made his NHL debut for the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. He finished with 9:05 minutes of ice time and recorded two hits and three shots on goal.
University of Minnesota forward Travis Boyd (Hopkins, Minn./2009-11) was named the Big Ten First Star of the Week on Feb. 10. Boyd tallied four goals, including the game-winner each night, and added one assist in the Golden Gophers’ sweep of Ohio State University.
Former NTDP players 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 10 finalists selected for the 2014-15 Senior CLASS Award. The finalists were chosen by the national media.
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. The winner will be announced at the Final Four in Boston in April.
The U17s will see two former NTDP players this weekend in forward Shane Gersich (Chaska, Minn./2013-14), who plays for Omaha, and defenseman Clint Lewis (Burnsville, Minn./2011-13), who suits up for Sioux Falls.
The U17s have a 18-23 record.
Clayton Keller (24-32) paces the U17s with 56 points. Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn./17-16) ranks second with 32 points, while Chad Krys (Ridgefield, Conn./3-26) is third with 29 points. Rounding out the top five are Nick Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla./13-14) and Adam Fox (Jericho, N.Y./3-20) with 27 and 23 points, respectively.
In goal for the U17s, Joseph Woll and Jake Oettinger share duties. Woll is 9-12 with a 3.15 goals-against average and an .893 save percentage, while Oettinger is 9-11 with a 2.65 GAA and a .914 save percentage.
The U18s carry a 30-10-2 (W-L-T) mark into this week’s action.
The U18s are paced by Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz./31-31), who has 62 points. Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y./18-38) is second with 56 points, while Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./23-31) sits third with 54 points. Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio/11-30) and Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill./19-18) round out the top five with 41 and 37 points, respectively.
In goal for the U18s, Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) and Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) split time. Opilka is 18-5 with a 2.92 GAA and an .883 save percentage while Lackey is 12-6-2 with a 2.90 GAA and an .887 save percentage.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
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