BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Team USA forwards Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) and Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill.) scored two goals each to help the U.S. National Under-18 Team cruise past the Bloomington Thunder, 6-2, here tonight at U.S. Cellular Coliseum. The U18s are now 7-1 against United States Hockey League competition since returning from the 2015 Five Nations Tournament in early February.
After a scoreless first period, Team USA popped home four tallies in the middle frame and carried a 4-2 lead into the third stanza. Tkachuk scored twice in the first 2:51 of the second stanza to give the U.S. a 2-0 edge. Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.) and Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) were credited with the helpers on Tkachuk's first goal, while Charles McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y.) and Chad Krys (Ridgefield, Conn.) earned the assists on his second marker. Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) found the back of the net at the seven-minute mark with help from Matthews and Tkachuk to boost the U18 lead to 3-0. Bloomington pulled within two goals three minutes later, but Keller collected his first tally of the night one minute later. Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) and Krys earned the assists.
The Thunder notched a late second-period goal, but Fischer made it 5-2 midway through the third with the lone assist going to Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) before Keller scored a late power-play goal to close the scoring. Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) and White had helpers on Keller's second tally.
Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) turned aside 13 shots between the pipes for Team USA in the win.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team will next take a quick trip north to face the Chicago Steel tomorrow night (March 14). Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET at The Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville, Illinois. The game will be streamed live at FASTHockey.com
Team USA outshot Bloomington, 37-15 ... The U.S. went 1-6 with the man advantage while the Thunder went 2-6 ... Entering the weekend, the Under-18 Team had won nine of their last 10 games in the USHL, dating back to January 10.
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