It will be a split weekend for the National Team Development Program as the U.S. National Under-18 Team plays its final home game of the season on Thursday while the Under-17 squad heads back out on the road for two games.
LAST HOME GAME: The U18s play their final United States Hockey League game on Thursday when the Muskegon Lumberjacks come to USA Hockey Arena. Face-off is set for 7 p.m.
“There is a bit of finality this week with our final game,” U18 coach Danton Cole said. “There is so much going on, but sometime this week we will start thinking about that fact. Then the players start thinking about how it’s our last home game and how they leave in less than two weeks for the world championship and then afterwards they are done here. It has been a big two years out of their lives, but the guys who come back will tell you how much the time and the team means to them.”
The U18s dropped a 3-0 decision at the Youngstown Phantoms on Saturday in their lone action of last week. Goalies Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.) and Joseph Woll (St. Louis, Mo.) combined for 19 saves.
ON TO GREEN BAY: The U17s hit the road again this week with a two-game series in Green Bay against the Gamblers on Friday and Saturday.
“We need to keep working and playing our game,” U17 coach Don Granato said. “This is definitely a difficult stretch for our squad, but I’m hoping that we improve each time with step out onto the ice.”
The U17s dropped a pair of road games over the weekend, falling 3-1 to Cedar Rapids on Friday and 4-2 to Muskegon on Saturday.
Josh Norris (Oxford, Mich.) scored the goal while goalie Adam Scheel (Lakewood, Ohio) kicked out 27 of 30 shots on Friday. Grant Mismash (Edina, Minn.) and Brady Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) scored the goals and Dylan St. Cyr (Northville, Mich.) stopped 27 shots on Saturday.
Forward Blake Pietila (Brighton, Mich./2009-11), a fifth-round selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, made his league debut for the New Jersey Devils on March 24. He earned his first point with an assist on March 27.
Montreal Canadiens forward Michael McCarron (Macomb, Mich./2011-13) scored his first NHL goal on March 20 against Calgary. Watch the video here.
Buffalo’s Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./2012-14) is the first Sabres rookie to record 50 points since Derek Plante in 1993-94 and the youngest since Phil Housley in 1982-83. Eichel has 23 goals and 27 assists in 74 games.
New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller (East Palestine, Ohio/2009-11) reached the 20-goal milestone for the first time in his career on March 23.
The Minnesota Wild’s Ryan Suter (Madison, Wis./2001-03) recorded his 47th point (8-39) of the season on March 22 to set a single-season team record for points by a defenseman. Suter’s 39 assists also are the most by a defenseman in one season in Wild history. In addition, Suter reached the 400-point mark (60-340) with an assist in a win over Colorado on March 26.
University of Minnesota junior forward Hudson Fasching (Burnsville, Minn./2011-13) signed a three-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres on March 24. He made his NHL debut against the Winnipeg Jets one day later, scoring a goal in his debut.
Minnesota’s Hudson Fasching and Jack Glover (Golden Valley, Minn./2012-14) were named to the Big Ten Academic All-Conference Team. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, students must be letter winners who are in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative 3.0 or higher grade-point average.
Boston College goalie Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif./2012-13) was named the Hockey East Co-Player of the Year while Colin White (Hanover, Mass./2013-15) was named the Rookie of the Year.
The U18s carry a 36-13-4-1 (W-L-OTL-T) record into this week.
Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill./29-56) leads the U18s with 85 points while Kieffer Bellows (Edina, Minn./40-28) is second with 68 points. Adam Fox (Jericho, N.Y./8-39) is third with 47 points. Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn./20-23) and Trent Frederic (St. Louis, Mo./16-15) round out the top five with 43 and 31 points, respectively.
Goalies Jake Oettinger and Joseph Woll split time between the pipes for the U18 squad. Oettinger is 20-8-1-0 with a 2.56 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. Woll is 16-5-3-1 with a 2.25 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
The U17s have an 18-28-8 (W-L-OTL) overall record.
Scott Reedy (Prior Lake, Minn./19-31) paces the U17s with 50 points. Grant Mismash (22-21) is second with 43 points and Evan Barratt (Bristol, Pa./14-25) is third with 39 points. Jacob Tortora (Victor, N.Y./15-16) and Sean Dhooghe (Aurora, Ill./20-10) round out the top five with 31 and 30 points, respectively.
In goal, Dylan St. Cyr and Adam Scheel split time for the U17s. St. Cyr is 13-14-4 with a 3.32 GAA and an .886 save percentage. Scheel is 5-14-4 with a 4.22 GAA and an .880 save percentage.
Frank Vatrano (East Longmeadow, Mass./2010-12) says that the Boston Bruins know what is best for him.
Were you aware that the Carolina Hurricanes’ Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass./2013-14) and the Buffalo Sabres’ Jack Eichel are friendly foes?
Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich./2013-14) is excited to play in NCAA Ohio Regional.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.