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Notebook (Oct. 7) - Team USA Heads North and West This Weekend

10/07/2013, 5:00pm EDT
By Becky Olsen

The U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams head out on the road this weekend with the U18s playing a single game at Colorado College while the U17s play two against teams from the Minnesota Elite League.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN TRIP FOR U18s: The U.S. National Under-18 Team continues it college schedule on Saturday with a game against Colorado College. Face-off is set for 9:07 p.m. ET at the World Arena in Colorado Springs. Follow the game through the Colorado College website, here.

It will be the second time in a week that Team USA has played on an Olympic-size sheet of ice, following the team’s 3-1 loss to Northern Michigan University last Saturday.

“It was nice to play NMU on the big sheet,” head coach Danton Cole said. “It will definitely help against Colorado College. It’s a change to play on the larger ice surface — the angles are different and to go through it once, it’s good. It’s definitely helps out confidence that we can make plays and have success against NCAA Division I teams.”

The Colorado College game is Team USA’s third college game of the season. In the college opener against NMU, Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) registered the lone goal. In net, Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) kicked out 12 shots.

The squad rebounded with a 3-1 win at Lake Superior State on Sunday. Larkin tallied a pair of goals in the win, while Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.) scored the game winner on the power play with 2:25 remaining in the third period. Minney finished with 39 stops in picking up the win.

“I thought we skated real hard and moved the puck well this weekend,” Cole said. “The guys competed extremely well and never backed down. They really played a complete game. It’s great to get that first win for our college schedule.”

LAND OF 10,000 LAKES TRIP FOR U17s: The U.S. National Under-17 Team heads out for its first road games of the season when it faces two different teams from the Minnesota Elite League on Saturday and Sunday in New Hope, Minn. Team USA faces Metro SE on Saturday before meeting Metro NE on Sunday.

“This is a good opening season road trip for our team,” said head coach Don Granato, whose squad has compiled a 5-2-0 (W-L-OTL) mark so far. “It allows our players to see what it’s like to play on the road but also how we need to prepare to be successful on future road trips, including our first international competition in November.”

The U17s split a pair of home games last week against Indiana, posting a 5-3 win on Thursday before falling 4-1 on Friday.

In game one, Brody Stevens (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.), Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio), Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) tallied goals in the win. Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) stopped 30 of 33 shots to earn the win in net.

In the second game, Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) scored the lone goal, while Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) finished with 25 saves.

“Our players realize how difficult it is to win back-to-back games in the USHL,” Granato said. “We have had some early success as a team, but we must continue to improve each day in order to continue having that success. It’s the little things that will help this team be successful.”

Notebook

• A total of 51 former National Team Development Program players appeared on National Hockey League opening-night rosters. This total includes five rookies: defensemen Connor Carrick (Orland Park, Ill./2010-12/Washington), Seth Jones (Plano, Texas/2010-12/Nashville), Jarred Tinordi (Millersville, Md./2008-10/Montreal) and Jacob Trouba (Rochester, Mich./2010-12/Winnipeg), plus forward Matthew Nieto (Long Beach, Calif./2008-10/San Jose).

In addition, former NTDP head coach Ron Rolston (2004-11) will begin his first full season as head coach of the Buffalo Sabres.

• Team USA is a combined 6-2-0 (W-L-OTL) in United States Hockey League play and sits atop the Eastern Conference standings with 12 points.

• The U18s hold a 6-1-0 record this season and are averaging 4.29 goals per game.

• Dylan Larkin tallied three goals in the split with NMU and Lake Superior State. He has registered at least one point in six of seven games this season for the U18s.

Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.) leads the U18s in points with 12 points on three goals and nine assists in seven games. Dylan Larkin (7-3) ranks second with 10 points while Anders Bjork (3-5) sits third with eight points. Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y./3-4) ranks fourth with seven points and Shane Gersich (Chaska, Minn./3-3) is fifth with six points.

• In goal, Edwin Minney and Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) have split duties for the U18s. Minney is 3-1-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage. Weyrick is 3-0-0 with a 1.33 GAA and a .946 save percentage.

• The U17s are averaging 5.00 goals per game while allowing just 3.43 goals per game.

• The U17s are led in points by Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y./2-7), who has compiled nine points in seven games. Jordan Greenway (3-5) and Colin White (3-5) are tied for second with eight points each. Six players — Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo./5-1), Luke Kirwan (Dewitt, N.Y./4-2), Jack Roslovic (3-3), Michael Floodstrand (2-4), Christian Fisher (Wayne, Ill./1-5) and Matt Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./1-5) — are tied for fourth with six points apiece.

• Michael Lackey and Luke Opilka continue to split time in net. Lackey is 1-1-0 with a 4.50 GAA and an .865 save percentage. Meanwhile, Opilka is 2-1-1 with a 3.45 GAA and an .873 save percentage.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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