It will be a reverse for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program squads this week as the U.S. National Under-18 Team heads out on the road for three games, including its final college match-up, while the U.S. National Under-17 Team enjoys a much-needed bye week.
ONE LAST COLLEGE TRY: Coming off a bye week, the U18s start this week with a United States Hockey League game at the Chicago Steel on Wednesday (Feb. 20) before facing the University of Nebraska Omaha on Thursday (Feb. 21) and the Lincoln Stars on Friday (Feb. 22).
“It was good for our players to have a bye week, but we are ready to get back on the ice and play,” U18 head coach Don Granato said. “This is a challenging week ahead for our squad against three quality opponents. We need to battle hard and play our game for a full 60 minutes in order to have success.”
The U18s have been off since placing fourth at the Five Nations Tournament in Sweden with a 1-1-0-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record.
U17 TURN FOR A BYE: After picking up one point in USHL play last week, the U17s will enjoy a bye this upcoming week. The squad returns to action on March 2, against the Chicago Steel at the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Ice Cube.
The U17s played two USHL games last week. On Friday (Feb. 15), the team dropped a 3-0 decision to Muskegon. Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) stopped 25 shots in the loss.
Two days later, Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) kicked out 33 shots as the U17s dropped a 4-3 shootout decision at Indiana on Sunday (Feb. 17). Nolan Stevens (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.) and Ryan MacInnis (St. Louis, Mo.) tallied the goals.
“It will be nice to have a little rest, more than anything mentally for the guys,” U17 coach Danton Cole said. “They can go home for four days, which is nice this time of year.
“Coming off the trip to Finland [for the Five Nations] and having to come back and play a really good team on Friday, I was happy with how hard the players worked. They battled through all weekend and I was happy with that.”
• Former NTDP forward Drew Shore (Denver, Colo./2007-09), a member of the Florida Panthers, recorded his first National Hockey League goal last Wednesday (Feb. 12) as the Panthers fell in overtime to the Capitals. Jack Skille (Madison, Wis./2003-05) set up Shore’s tip-in goal.
In his first NHL game on Sunday (Feb. 17) with the Minnesota Wild, Jason Zucker (Las Vegas, Nev./2008-10) tallied his first career goal in the second period in a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ Brandon Saad (Gibsonia, Pa./2009-10) scored his first NHL marker in a 5-3 win at San Jose earlier this month on Feb. 5.
• U18 assistant coach Nick Fohr was a four-year letter winner with Nebraska Omaha (1998-2002) and served as an assistant coach (2007-10) and director of hockey operations (2004-07, 2010-11) at UNO.
• Team USA is a combined 10-24-5 (W-L-OTL) in USHL play this season, including a 2-12-3 mark on the road.
• The U18s carry a 26-11-3-4 (W-L-OTL-T) into this week’s action. The squad is averaging 3.61 goals per game while allowing 2.48 goals. Against college opposition, the U18s are 10-6-4 (W-L-T), including a 5-6-4 record against Division I opponents.
• Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass./22-22) paces the U18s with 44 points, including a team-best 22 goals. Evan Allen (Sterling Heights, Mich./16-18) ranks second with 34 points while Anthony Louis (Winfield, Ill./17-15) is third with 32 points. Rounding out the top five are Tyler Motte (St. Clair, Mich./17-12) and J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill./10-16), who have 29 and 26 points, respectively.
• In goal for the U18s, Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif.) and Hunter Miska (North Branch, Minn.) have split duties. Demko is 16-5-0-3 with a 2.14 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. Meanwhile, Miska is 8-5-3-1 with a 2.86 GAA and an .857 save percentage.
• The U17s head into their bye week with a 15-25-4 (W-L-OTL) record.
• Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y./17-24) paces the U17s with 41 points while Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./19-15) is second with 35 points. Chris Wilkie (Omaha, Neb./12-16) ranks third with 28 points while Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich./11-14) is fourth with 25 points. Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y./10-14) rounds out the top five with 24 points.
• In goal for the U17s, Edwin Minney is 8-16-3 with a 4.20 GAA and an .873 save percentage. His partner, Blake Weyrick, is 1-3-0 with a 2.61 GAA and a .920 save percentage.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.