Photo by Rena Laverty
BAITING THE BADGERS: The U.S. National Under-18 Team's matchup with the University of Wisconsin on Friday night will be the sixth all-time meeting. The U18s are 1-4 all-time against the Badgers but their last matchup was the first-ever win for the NTDP. Auston Matthews tallied two goals while Matthew Tkachuk and Luke Kunin added a goal a piece in a 4-1 victory game with on Dec. 12, 2014. Luke Opilka made 17 saves to pick up the win for the U18s. The two teams first played on Dec. 6, 2005 when the Badgers won a close game, 6-5. Wisconsin has outscored the U18s, 23-13, all-time in the series.
This season, the Badgers are off to a 2-2 start after splitting a pair of games with Northern Michigan University and ninth-ranked Boston College to open the season. NTDP alum Trent Frederic, who was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the first round of the 2016 National Hockey League Entry Draft this past summer, is tied for the team lead in points with four. Fellow freshman and NTDP alum, JD Greenway, has recorded three points in the four games this season.
BATTLING THE BULLDOGS: The U.S. National Under-18 Team's matchup with the University of Minnesota Duluth on Saturday night will be the seventh all-time meeting. The U18s are 1-5 all-time against the Bulldogs. Their last matchup was on Jan. 2, 2016 when Clayton Keller, Adam Fox and Kieffer Bellows tallied for Team USA in a 4-3 loss to the Bulldogs. Their lone victory against the Bulldogs came on Dec. 14, 2007 when Sam Lofquist and Vinny Saponari tallied in the U18s 2-1 victory. Joe Cannata made 31 saves for Team USA to pick up the victory. The two teams first played on Jan. 7, 2006 when the Bulldogs earned a victory of Team USA, 6-3. Minnesota Duluth has outscored the U18s, 25-9, all-time in the series.
This season, the Bulldogs are off to a 3-1-2 start to the season. They started the season with a pair of wins against Michigan Tech University, followed by two ties against University of Massachussets Lowell. Most recently they earned a 4-3 win over the University of Notre Dame at AMSOIL Arena last Friday. Adam Johnson and Neal Pionk lead the team with seven points a piece. NTDP alum and Bulldogs freshman forward Joey Anderson is second on the team with six points on six assists.
TAKING ON OMAHA: This is the first matchup of the 2016-17 season between the U.S. National Under-17 Team and the Omaha Lancers. On Sept. 10, the U.S. National Under-18 Team faced the Lancers at Ralston Arena, a 6-2 victory by Omaha. The two teams will meet once more in the regular season when the U17s travel to Ralston Arena on Nov. 26 for a 7:05 p.m. CT puck drop.
The Lancers come to USA Hockey Arena with a 4-4-0 USHL record, placing them at fifth place in the Western Conference. The Lancers have earned victories in four straight games to rebound from a four-game losing streak to kick off the 2016-17 campaign. In last weekend's sweep of the Fargo Force, forward Pierce Crawford recorded two consecutive two-goal nights. Lancers goaltender Peter Thome has a perfect 4-0-0-0 record.
NTDP/WISCONSIN PLAYER HISTORY: Prior to the 2016-17 season, the National Team Development Program had sent 26 players on to the University of Wisconsin, including current NHL players Jake McCabe, Jamie McBain, Jack Skille and Ryan Suter. Four former NTDP players are now with the Badgers: forwards Luke Kunin, Trent Frederic and Ryan Wagner and defenseman JD Greenway.
Currently, three players playing for the U18s are committed to play college hockey at the University of Wisconsin: Sean Dhooghe (Aurora, Ill.), Max Gildon (Plano, Texas)and Tyler Inamoto (Barrington, Ill.).
NTDP/MINNESOTA DULUTH PLAYER HISTORY: Prior to the 2016-17 season, the National Team Development Program had sent 4 players on to the University of Minnesota Duluth, including current Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk. Forwards Joey Anderson and Kyle Osterberg, and goaltender Hunter Miska represent the NTDP alum currently with the Bulldogs.
U18S NCAA SCHEDULE: The U.S. National Under-18 Team will skate in 17 NCAA games this season, including 12 tilts with Division I squads. Team USA faces a challenging seven-game schedule in October alone, which includes five teams ranked in the most recent USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine Men’s College Hockey Poll.
Last Friday, the U18s traveled to Maricucci Arena to take on the University of Minnesota. They fell to the Golden Gophers, 9-0. Previously, the U18s played #13 Harvard University at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center on Saturday, Oct. 8, and dropped a 5-2 decision. Nate Knoepke (Farmington, Minn.) and Randy Hernandez (Miami Fla.) picked up goals for Team USA. Adam Scheel (Lakewood, Ohio) made 31 saves in 55:37 of play. NTDP alum Adam Fox added four assists for Harvard.
Prior to playing the Crimson, the Under-18 Team fell to second-ranked Boston University at Agganis Arena, 8-2, on Thursday, Oct. 6. Jacob Tortora (Victor, N.Y.) and Josh Norris (Oxford, Mich.) added shorthanded breakaway goals for Team USA, while four NTDP alumni on the Terriers roster recorded points for Boston University. Earlier this month, The U18s fell to the University of Notre Dame, 5-1, in South Bend, Indiana. D-I teams that will skate against the Under-18 Team at USA Hockey Arena this season include Princeton University (Oct. 29) and Arizona State University (Feb. 24-25).
USHL COMPETITION: The NTDP plays a full United States Hockey League season, split between the U.S. National Under-18 and Under-17 Teams. The records for both teams are combined into one in USHL standings. At this point, the U17s are 1-4-0 in the USHL while the U18s are 1-0-1, good for a 2-4-1 (W-L-OTL) combined record and sixth in the Eastern Conference.
PLAYING AGAINST GRANATO: The Under-18 Team will play against its former NTDP coach Don Granato, who left the National Team Development Program to join his brother, Tony, at the University of Wisconsin this past spring. Granato coached for the NTDP from 2011-2016.
FARABEE AMONG ROOKIE LEADERS: Joel Farabee (Cicero, N.Y.) is averaging a point-per-game in five USHL games this season. His five points are sixth among USHL rookies and his one point-per-game average is fifth best among USHL rookies.
WAHLSTROM FINDING THE NET: Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass.) currently leads the team in shots on goal with 28 through 11 games. He is tied with Jonathan Gruden (Rochester, Minn.) for the team lead in goals with six.
FIVE NATIONS COMING TO USA HOCKEY ARENA: The 2016 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament will feature some of the top under-18 hockey players in the world and will be hosted by USA Hockey from Nov. 1-5 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. The tournament includes the U.S. National Under-18 Team, as well as teams from the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.
Each team will compete in four games, with points awarded for wins (3), overtime wins (2) and overtime losses (1). The first-place team will be determined based on final point standings.
WORLD UNDER-17 HOCKEY CHALLENGE: The U.S. National Under-17 Team is preparing for its first taste of international competition: the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge from Oct. 27-Nov. 5 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The tournament will feature teams from Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden. Team USA games will be streamed live on HockeyTV.
TKACHUK AND WERENSKI SCORE FIRST NHL GOALS: Matthew Tkachuk, who played for the NTDP from 2013-15, recorded his first NHL goal for the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, Oct. 18 in a 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres. Tkachuk was drafted sixth overall by the Flames in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. His younger brother, Brady Tkachuk, currently plays for the Under-18 team, and his father, Keith Tkachuk is a U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee who played 19 seasons in the NHL and is one of only four American-born players to score 500 career NHL goals.
Zach Werenski, who skated for the NTDP during the 2013-14 season, tallied his first NHL goal for the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 15 in their 3-2 loss to San Jose. The University of Michigan product was drafted by the Blue Jackets eighth overall in the 2015 National Hockey League Entry Draft.
HARTMAN AND MOTTE COMBINE FOR FIRST NHL POINTS: Ryan Hartman, who played for the NTDP from 2010-12, recorded his first NHL goal for the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, Oct. 12 in a 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. He was assisted on the play by another NTDP alum, Tyler Motte, who played for the NTDP from 2011-13. The duo recorded their first points of their career in their rookie seasons for the Blackhawks. Hartman was drafted in the first round and Motte in the fourth round by the Blackhawks in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Friday vs. Omaha Lancers
Puck Drop: 7 p.m. ET
Friday @ University of Wisconsin
Puck Drop: 7 p.m. CT
Saturday @ University of Minnesota Duluth
Puck Drop: 7:37 p.m. CT