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Notebook (March 4) - U17s Look to Rebound with Two USHL Home Games

03/05/2013, 9:30am EST
By Becky Olsen

For a second straight week, the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams will combine to play four United States Hockey League contests. The U17s will skate in a pair of home games while the U18s head back out on the road for two games.

GREEN BAY COMES TO THE ICE CUBE: After dropping two home contests last week, the U17s will host the Green Bay Gamblers in a two-game USHL set on Friday (March 8) and Saturday (March 9) at the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Ice Cube. Friday’s game begins at 7 p.m. EST while on Saturday the puck drops at 3:30 p.m.

“I think the biggest thing with us is consistency,” U17 head coach Danton Cole said. “We go through games and we play two pretty good periods, and then we take a period off, or 10 minutes or five minutes. We tend to have those lapses. We will continue to work on consistency and work on our toughness and battling. On the psychological side, we need to get the guys back up on making plays and getting back to playing hockey the way they can. A lot of it is mental but there is the physical side of it and we have to be battle ready.”

The U17s dropped a 3-0 decision and a 4-3 decision to Chicago on Saturday (March 2) and Sunday (March 3), respectively. Hunter Miska (North Branch, Minn.) stopped 24 shots between the pipes in the 3-0 loss.

In the second game, Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.), Ryan MacInnis (St. Louis, Mo.) and Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.) provided the offense.  Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) made 34 saves in net.

“We have been going through video; we have to get guys in front of the net and get pucks to the net and get rebounds and drive the net on the rush and bank some in,” Cole said. “In the second game, finally, they started doing that and look what happens, a couple pucks bounce and go in. You can get frustrated and say, ‘What do we need to do?’ We have to figure that out and we will.”

OFF TO INDIANA: After splitting a pair of games last week, the U18s hit the road for a pair of games at the Indiana Ice on Friday (March 8) and Saturday (March 9). The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. both nights at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.

The U18s dropped a 3-1 decision to Muskegon on Friday (March 1), snapping a four-game winning streak. Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.) scored the lone goal while Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) stopped 19 shots between the pipes.

Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif.) stopped 23-of-24 shots en route to a 3-1 road win at Green Bay on Sunday (March 3). Michael McCarron (Macomb, Mich.), Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) and Tommy Vannelli (Minnetonka, Minn.) provided the offense in the victory.

“I was proud of how the team came out and responded against Green Bay after a tough loss to Muskegon,” U18 head coach Don Granato said. “We went out [against Green Bay] and played our game, and this team was rewarded with a big win. It shows how important it is for our players to continue to work hard and they will find success. Hopefully, we can carry this momentum into next weekend’s series at Indiana.”

• The U17s will host a “Skate with the Players” event after the game against Green Bay on Saturday. In addition, the first 250 fans to present their tickets to the game will receive a team poster. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and $1 for youth hockey players that wear their jerseys.

• Former NTDP assistant coach Chadd Cassidy (2006-11) was named the interim head coach of the Rochester Americans on Feb. 25. He became the 30th head coach in Americans history after originally joining the team as an assistant coach on August 31, 2011.

• Former NTDP assistant coach Matt Greason (2010-12), who is coaching at NCAA III Trinity College, was selected as the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Coach of the Year on Feb. 28.

• Two familiar faces will be in Indiana as former NTDP defenseman Joe Fiala (Verona, Wis./2009-11) is a member of the Ice and Indiana associate coach Matt Curley spent two seasons (2010-12) with the NTDP as an intern assistant coach. In addition, Barrett Kaib (Pittsburgh, Pa./2009-11) is a defenseman on the Green Bay Gamblers.

• Team USA carries a combined 13-27-5 (W-L-OTL) record in the USHL, heading into this weekend.

• The U17s bring a 15-27-4 (W-L-OTL) record into this week’s action.

• Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y./17-24) continues to pace the U17s with 41 points. Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./19-15), who is currently playing for the U18s, is second with 34 points while Chris Wilkie (Omaha, Neb./12-16) ranks third with 28 points. Ryan Hitchcock (11-16) ranks fourth with 27 points and Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich./11-14) is fifth with 25 points.

• In goal for the U17s, Edwin Minney is 8-17-3 with a 4.19 goals-against average and an .873 save percentage. In three games with the U17s, Hunter Miska is 0-3-0 with a 4.36 GAA and an .859 save percentage.

• Heading into this week’s action, the U18s hold a 30-14-3-4 (W-L-OTL-T) mark.

• The U18s are led by Tyler Kelleher (24-24), who has 48 points. Evan Allen (Sterling Heights, Mich./18-20) ranks second with 38 points, while Anthony Louis (Winfield, Ill./17-16) is third with 33 points. Tyler Motte (St. Clair, Mich./17-12) and J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill./10-19) are tied four fourth with 29 points each.

• In goal for the U18s, Thatcher Demko is 19-6-0-3 with a 2.09 GAA and a .912 save percentage. In three games for the U18s, Blake Weyrick is 1-1-0-0 with a 2.02 GAA and a .917 save percentage.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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