Both the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams will head out on the road for four United States Hockey League contests this week. The U18s travel to Illinois for two games against two different opponents while the U17s travel to North Dakota for a pair. Team USA is a combined 20-24-0 (W-L-OTL) in USHL play this season.
OFF TO ILLINOIS: The U18s go on the road to play the Bloomington Thunder on Friday and the Chicago Steel on Saturday.
“This is a great two-game series for our squad as we will have to prep for two different opponents,” said head coach Don Granato, whose squad is 9-1 in its last 10 games. “We need to play with that same high compete level and work hard on every shift, just like we did this past weekend, and that success will come. We are working toward our final goal of the U18 World Championship, and each game is important in reaching that goal.”
The U18s are coming off a perfect week in which they posted wins over Omaha (7-2 on Thursday), Waterloo (4-2 on Friday) and Sioux Falls (8-2 on Sunday).
Brendan Warren (Carleton, Mich.) tallied two goals to pace the offense against Omaha. Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.), Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Tage Thompson (Oyster Bay, N.Y.), Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.) and Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) also scored. Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) and Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) combined for 18 stops.
Against Sioux Falls, Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) potted two goals while Nicholas Boka (Plymouth, Mich.), Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.), Fischer, Matthews, Tkachuk and Roslovic added single tallies. Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.), who was making his first start for the U18s, finished with 27 stops.
NORTH DAKOTA BOUND: The U17s begin an eight-game road stand with a two-game set at the Fargo Force on Friday and Saturday.
Christian Fischer set the new USHL record for the fastest goal to start a game when he scored just six seconds after the opening faceoff against the Omaha Lancers on Thursday.
U17 coach Danton Cole, who won a Stanley Cup as a player with the New Jersey Devils in 1995, was honored along with former teammates on Sunday prior to the Devils’ game against Philadelphia as part of the 20-year reunion celebration of the team’s Stanley Cup.
Former National Team Development Program assistant coach and consultant Tim Taylor will receive the 2015 Legend of College Hockey award from the Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation. Taylor, who passed away in 2013, served as the Yale University coach for 28 years (1976-2006) and posted a 337-433-55 mark.
Among his many stints with USA Hockey, Taylor served as an assistant coach for the Under-18 Team in 2008 and 2010 and was the team manager for the U.S. World Junior Championship teams in 2011 and 2012.
Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (Charlestown, Mass./2010-12) was selected as the Hockey East Player of the Week on March 2. Grzelcyk recorded three goals and seven points in two games. He earned MVP honors at the Beanpot championship after registering two goals, including the game winner.
Former NTDP and current University of Michigan forward J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill./2012-14) was selected as the Big Ten Second Star on March 3. Compher tallied four goals in a pair of victories over the University of Wisconsin, including his first career hat trick.
Boston University forward Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./2012-14) earned Hockey East Rookie of the Month honors for February. He finished the month with three goals and 15 points in nine games, including four multi-point contests. During the month, he led the league in assists (12), power-play assists (7), power-play points (8), plus-minus (+10), shots on goal (45) and face-offs won (136).
University of North Dakota defenseman Nick Mattson (Chanhassen, Minn./2007-09) earned National Collegiate Hockey Association Defenseman of the Week honors for the week of Feb. 23-March 1.
In the last five games, the U18 line of Matthew Tkachuk (2-6), Auston Matthews (5-5) and Jack Roslovic (3-6) has combined for a total of 27 points, including a combined 10 goals.
With 81 points, Auston Matthews ranks seventh on NTDP’s single-season chart. Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis./2003-04) is sixth with 82 points while Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y./2013-14) and Jack Eichel (2013-14) are tied for fifth with 87 points. In addition, Matthews’ 39 goals ties him for sixth on the single-season goals chart with Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif./2010-11) and Andy Hilbert (Howell, Mich./1998-99). Adam Hall (Kalamazoo, Mich./1997-98) sits fifth with 43 goals.
U17 forward Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill.) made his U18 debut on Sunday against Sioux Falls. He collected a pair of helpers in the 8-2 win.
The U18s carry a 37-11-1-2 (W-L-OTL-T) mark into this week’s action.
Auston Matthews (39-42) leads with U18s with 81 points in 45 contests. Matthew Tkachuk (29-39) is second with 68 points while Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y./22-42) is third with 64 points. Jack Roslovic (16-41) and Christian Fischer (23-22) round out the top five with 57 and 45 points, respectively.
Michael Lackey and Luke Opilka split time in goal for the U17s. Opilka is 22-5 with a 2.88 goals-against average and an .881 save percentage. Lackey is 14-6-1-2 with a 2.75 GAA and an .891 save percentage.
The U17s carry an 18-26 mark into this week’s action.
Clayton Keller (25-34) paces the U17s with 59 points. Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn./17-17) ranks second with 34 points while Chad Krys (Ridgefield, Conn./3-26) is third with 29 points. Nick Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla./13-15) sits fourth with 28 points. Max Jones (17-8) rounds out the top five with 25 points.
In goal for the U17s, Joseph Woll and Jake Oettinger share duties. Woll is 9-14 with a 3.38 GAA and an .886 save percentage while Oettinger is 9-12 with a 2.61 GAA and a .914 save percentage.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
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