Team USA celebrates one of its three goals against the Spartans. Photo courtesy of MiHockeyNow.com.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif.) stopped all 22 shots he faced, as the U.S. National Under-18 Team blanked Michigan State University, 3-0, on Jan. 22, at Munn Ice Arena. With the victory, Team USA improves to 5-4-0 (W-L-T) against the Spartans all-time.
Both teams skated to a scoreless first frame that saw Team USA outshoot Michigan State, 9-4. Demko turned aside what may have been the best opportunity of the period, when a Spartan skater found himself alone in front of the net. Demko made the point-blank save to keep the score locked at zero.
Team USA struck first at 6:26 of the second stanza. Evan Allen (Sterling Heights, Mich.) skated down center, towards the net and dropped a pass to Will Butcher (Sun Prairie, Wis.) on the left side. Butcher ripped a shot that beat Michigan State goaltender Jake Hildebrand for the score. Michael McCarron (Macomb, Mich.) also assisted on the goal. Kevin Labanc (Staten Island, N.Y.) doubled the U.S. advantage at 16:35, sniping a shot into the cage. Gage Ausmus (East Grand Forks, Minn.) collected an assist on the tally.
The U.S. lead grew to three at 13:15 of the third period when Anthony Louis (Winfield, Ill.) dragged the puck away from the defender and wristed a shot top shelf. Hudson Fasching (Burnsville, Minn.) and Steven Santini (Mahopac, N.Y.) earned assists on the marker.
Team USA next faces the University of Minnesota Duluth on Saturday (Jan. 26) at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn. Puck drop is scheduled for 3:07 p.m. EST. The U.S. will then travel to Wessman Arena on Sunday (Jan. 27) to take on the Yellowjackets of the University of Wisconsin-Superior. The game is slated for 6:05 p.m.
The U.S. record against NCAA squads is now 9-5-4 (W-L-T) ... Team USA outshot Michigan State, 39-22 ... Thatcher Demko is now second in the all-time National Team Development Program record book in single-season shutouts. The netminder has five, one behind Jack Campbell (Port Huron, Mich./2008-09) and Jeff Frazee (Burnsville, Minn./2004-05). Demko is also now tied for seventh with Brett Bennett (Williamsville, N.Y./2004-06) and Rob Bonk (Hartland, Mich./1997-2000) in career shutouts (five).