The U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams continue action on the road this week. The U18s will play a pair of college games in New York while the U17s continue United States Hockey League play in Iowa.
COLLEGE STAND FOR U18s: The U.S. National Under-18 Team, which has won nine of its last 10 games, will head to New York this weekend for two college contests. The U18s will face Utica College on Saturday before playing at RPI on Sunday. For Utica College's coverage of Saturday's game click here. For RPI's covereage of Sunday's game click here.
“One of the main reasons our guys have been having success is proper preparation and their attention to detail,” head coach Danton Cole said. “It is important to our players to keep playing and improving each night. Consistency is a big key to our success.
“We still have things to work on and fine tune in our game. [Assistant coach John] Gruden and myself will take a look at a few things to work on this week in practice so the team will be ready for two college games this weekend.”
The U18s swept a pair of games last week, beating the University of Michigan 5-4 in overtime on Thursday (Dec. 5) and then overcoming the Youngstown Phantoms 6-2 on Saturday (Dec. 7).
Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) scored the game winner just 2:43 into overtime in the victory over Michigan. It marked the second straight win over the Wolverines for Team USA. Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.), Dylan Pavelek (Marysville, Mich.), Shane Gersich (Chaska, Minn.) and Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.) tallied goals in regulation. Goalie Collin Olson (Apple Valley, Minn.) finished with 17 stops.
In the win over Youngstown, Tuch paced the offense with two goals while Pavelek, Eichel, Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.) and Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) recorded single tallies. Goalie Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) kicked out 35 of 37 shots to earn the win.
U17s RETURN TO IOWA: The U.S. National Under-17 Team returns to Iowa for a pair of USHL games this week. The team will head back to Dubuque for a rematch with the Fighting Saints on Friday before heading to Waterloo to meet the Black Hawks on Saturday.
“We are in a little slump right now,” head coach Don Granato said. “We need to go back to practice and work on the little things that helped us have some success early on. We need to work on the basics right now and the rest should take care of itself. We will have another tough road trip this weekend, back in Iowa.”
The U17s dropped a 6-2 decision at Dubuque on Friday. Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) and Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) recorded the goals. Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) and Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) combined for 23 stops in net.
WJC PRELIMINARY ROSTER ANNOUNCED: Forward Jack Eichel as well as 17 former National Team Development Program players were on the list when USA Hockey unveiled its 26-player preliminary roster for the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team that will participate in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship from Dec. 26, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden.
Former players include goaltender Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif./2012-13); forwards Riley Barber (Livonia, Mich./2011-12), J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill./2011-13), Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor, Mich./2010-12), Thomas Di Pauli (Woodridge, Ill./2010-12), Hudson Fasching (Burnsville, Minn./2011-13), Ryan Hartman (West Dundee, Ill./2010-12), Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif./2010-12), Stefan Matteau (Chicago, Ill./2010-12), Tyler Motte (St. Clair, Mich./2011-13), Henrik Samuelsson (Scottsdale, Ariz./2010-11), and Quentin Shore (Denver, Colo./2010-12); along with defensemen Will Butcher (Sun Prairie, Wis./2011-13), Connor Carrick (Orland Park, Ill./2010-12), Matt Grzelcyk (Charlestown, Mass./2010-12), Steven Santini (Mahopac, N.Y./2011-13), and Brady Skjei (Lakeville, Minn./2010-12).
Barber and Hartman were members of the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team that won gold at last year’s World Junior Championship.
The 26 players will participate in a training camp Dec. 15-18 at the University of Minnesota's Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, with preparations continuing in Angelholm, Sweden, before the final 23-man roster is announced on Dec. 23. The U.S. will play three games before the start of the IIHF World Junior Championship. The games are Dec. 17 at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and contests in Angelholm vs. Finland on Dec. 20 and Sweden on Dec. 22.
• Two former NTDP players registered their first career National Hockey League points in their first games in the league. John Albert (Concord, Ohio/2005-07), who was called up to the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 1, registered his first career goal in a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers on Dec. 2.
Reid Boucher (Grand Ledge, Mich./2009-11) made his NHL debut for the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 4 and recorded an assist. He also scored in the shootout; however, New Jersey dropped a 5-4 decision.
• The U17s will see former NTDP forwards this week in Alexx Privitera (Old Tappan, N.J./2009-10) and Shane Eiserman (West Newbury, Mass./2012-13), who both skate for the Dubuque Saints.
• Former NTDP forward Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn./2009-11) is now a junior forward for RPI. Heading into this week, Haggerty has accumulated 18 goals and 24 points in 15 games. In addition, RPI coach Seth Appert and NTDP assistant coach John Gruden were teammates at Ferris State University from 1992-94.
• Former NTDP forward Austin Czarnik (Washington, Mich./2008-10/Miami) was selected as the National College Hockey Conference Offensive Player of the Week for Nov. 25-Dec. 1. Meanwhile, former NTDP defenseman Keaton Thompson (Devils Lake, N.D./2011-13/North Dakota) earned NCHC Rookie of the Week honors.
• Former NTDP forward J.T. Compher earned Big Ten Second Star honors on Dec. 3. Compher had three goals and one assist in Michigan’s two-game sweep of Ohio State University.
• Team USA is a combined 15-11-1 (W-L-OTL) in USHL play this season and sits second in the Eastern Conference standings.
• The U18s carry an overall mark of 16-8-1 (W-L-OTL) into this weekend’s action. In addition, the squad is 4-3-0 against NCAA opponents.
• Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.), who has accumulated 45 points (14-31) in 25 games, leads the U18s. Jack Eichel (19-19) is second with 38 points, while Alex Tuch (18-16) ranks third with 34 points. Dylan Larkin (15-9) and Ryan Hitchcock (5-19) are tied for fifth with 24 points each.
• In goal for the U18s, Edwin Minney holds a 10-4-1 record along with a 2.74 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage.
• The U17s carry a 13-10-0 (W-L-OTL) into this week’s action, including a 1-5-0 mark in their last six games.
• The U17s continue to be paced by Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y./8-23), who has 31 points in 23 games. Colin White (Hanover, Mass./11-13) ranks second with 24 points, while Luke Kirwan (Dewitt, N.Y./11-9) sits third with 20 points. Rounding out the top five are Jordan Greenway (8-11) with 19 points and Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass./4-14) with 18 points.
• In net, Michael Lackey and Luke Opilka continue to split time for the U17s. Lackey is 6-6-0 with a 3.40 GAA and an .879 save percentage. Meanwhile, Opilka is 7-4-0 with a 4.17 GAA and an .846 save percentage.
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