The U.S. National Under-18 Team defeated the Minnesota Wilderness Saturday night at USA Hockey Arena, 7-2 in their pre-season opener.
Erik Middendorf (Scottsdale, Ariz.) opened the scoring for the U18s after wrapping the puck around and under the pad of Minnesota’s goaltender, Trevor Mucucci at 10:54 of the first period.
The Wilderness tied the game at one at 2:16 of the second period sending the puck into the top of the net from the slot.
Jonathan Gruden (Rochester, Mich.) put the U18s back on top at 7:15 of the second period. Middendorf picked up his second point of the night with the assist.
Minnesota’s Blake Bride evened the score again at two before Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass.) re-took the U18s lead. Jake Pivonka (Naperville, Ill.) sent the puck across the ice to Wahlstrom who sent it top shelf at 14:47 of the second period. Gavin Hain (Grand Rapids, Minn.) also picked up an assist on the goal.
Middendorf picked up his second goal of the game at 0:57 of the final frame with the assist coming from Gruden.
Joel Farabee (Cicero, N.Y.) and Tyler Weiss (Raleigh, N.C.) added to the U18s lead at 7:22 and 7:58 of the third period. Bode Wilde (Birmingham, Mich.) also added one from the right circle at 14:15 of the final frame to seal the game.
U18 goaltenders, Drew DeRidder (Fenton, Mich.) and Jonathan Mor (Highland Park, Ill.) split time in net with DeRidder recording six saves and Mor tallying 15 saves. The Wilderness’s Mucucci and Cade McEwen made a combined 50 saves.
The U18s are on the road next weekend, Sept. 23, to face-off against the Muskegon Lumberjacks. They return to USA Hockey Arena Friday Oct. 13 to host Miami (Ohio) University for their home opener at 7p.m. ET. Tickets are still available at USAHockeyNTDP.com/Tix