The U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams will host a combined four United States Hockey League contests this week at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. Team USA is a combined 17-23-0 (W-L-OTL) in USHL play this season.
THREE FOR THE U18s: The U18s open their three-game home set against the Omaha Lancers at 7 p.m. ET Thursday before facing the Waterloo Blackhawks at 7 p.m. Friday and then the Sioux Falls Stampede at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
“We have a busy week with three games against three different opponents,” head coach Don Granato said. “We need to play with intensity this weekend and will work on some different areas in practice this week. Each shift counts, and it’s important for our players to play with that urgency.”
The U18s finished with a 2-1 record last week. The squad opened the week with a 9-2 win over the North American Hockey League's Team South on Monday in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.), Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Colin White (Hanover, Mass.), Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.), Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Charles McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y.), Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.), Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) and Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) scored in the win over the NAHL's Team South. Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) stopped 24 shots to earn the win.
Returning to USHL play for the weekend, the U18s beat the Green Bay Gamblers 5-2 on Friday before falling 3-1 at Green Bay on Saturday.
Matthews registered two goals while Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale, Ill.), Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) and McAvoy had single tallies in game one. Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) kicked out 11 shots between the pipes.
In the loss, Chad Krys (Ridgefield, Conn.) tallied the lone goal while Lackey finished with 10 stops.
SINGLE MATCH FOR U17s: Following a bye weekend, the U17s host the Blackhawks at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“It was important to have a bye last weekend,” head coach Danton Cole said. “We just finished a pretty long stretch since we returned from Christmas with no time off, and that includes a trip to Russia. It was good for the players, both physically and mentally, to be able to go home and spend time with their families. It should help as we gear up for the stretch run.”
The U17s fell 3-2 in a shootout against the NAHL Selects on Tuesday in the Top Prospects Tournament. Max Jones (Rochester, Mich.) and Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill.) recorded the goals while Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.) made 19 saves.
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.
With 76 points this season, Auston Matthews is ninth on the NTDP’s single-season points chart just ahead of Patrick O’Sullivan (Sterling Heights, Mich./2000-01) and James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J./2006-07). Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y.) holds the NTDP single-season points record with 102 points, set in 2005-06.
Former NTDP and current University of Michigan freshman forward Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich./2012-14) was named the Big Ten Conference First Star on Feb. 24. Larkin gathered six points in a sweep of Ohio State University (Feb. 20 and 22), including one goal and four points in Sunday’s 5-2 win.
Boston College netminder Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif./2012-12) was among the 28 players nominated for the 2015 Mike Richter Award for the nation’s top Division I men’s goaltender. Demko has posted an 18-9-3 record along with a 2.15 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 30 games this season.
J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill./2011-13/Michigan) registered his first career hat trick for the Wolverines in a 5-2 victory over the University of Wisconsin on Feb. 28.
Former NTDP netminder Hunter Miska (North Branch, Minn./2011-13) was named the British Columbia Hockey League’s Penticton Vees Most Valuable Player on Saturday. Miska, who has verbally committed to the University of Minnesota Duluth, posted a 34-9-1 record along with a 1.88 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. He led the league in both GAA and save percentage.
Henrik Samuelsson (Scottsdale, Ariz./2010-11) made his NHL debut for the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. He had one shot on goal and one hit in 9:33 of ice time as the Coyotes fell 4-3 at the New York Rangers.
Team USA will see two former players this week: Shane Gersich (Chaska, Minn./2013-14), who plays for Omaha, and Clint Lewis (Burnsville, Minn./2011-13), who suits up for Sioux Falls.
The U18s carry a 34-11-1-2 (W-L-OTL-T) mark into this week’s action.
The U18s are paced by Auston Matthews (36-40), who has 76 points in 42 contests. Jeremy Bracco (22-41) is second with 63 points and Matthew Tkachuk (27-35) is just behind with 62. Jack Roslovic (14-36) and Christian Fischer (20-21) round out the top five with 50 and 41 points, respectively.
In goal for the U18s, Michael Lackey and Luke Opilka split time. Opilka is 21-5 with a 2.87 GAA and an .882 save percentage while Lackey is 13-7-2 with a 2.82 GAA and an .888 save percentage.
The U17s bring an 18-25 mark into this week’s action.
The U17s are led by Clayton Keller (25-33) who has collected 58 points in 44 games. Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn./17-17) ranks second with 34 points. Chad Krys (3-26) is third with 29 points while Nick Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla./13-15) sits fourth with 28 points. Max Jones (16-8) and Adam Fox (Jericho, N.Y./4-20) are tied for fifth with 24 points apiece.
In goal for the U17s, Joseph Woll (Dardenne Prairie, Mo.) and Jake Oettinger share duties. Woll is 9-13 with a 3.31 GAA and an .888 saves percentage while Oettinger is 9-12 with a 2.61 GAA and a .914 saves percentage.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
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