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Notebook (Jan. 13) - U18s in Ann Arbor for Long-Awaited Home Stand

01/13/2014, 3:30pm EST
By Becky Olsen

It is a relatively quiet week for the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams. The U18s return home to face a pair of United State Hockey League opponents and the U17s enjoy a break from competition.

HOME SWEET HOME: The U.S. National Under-18 Team returns home to the Ann Arbor Ice Cube to face a pair of USHL opponents with a Friday game against the Muskegon Lumberjacks and a Saturday game against the Waterloo Black Hawks. The puck drops at 7 p.m. EST both nights.

This weekend also marks the first set of home games for the U18s since Nov. 30 - Dec. 1.

“It’s always good to return home and play on our own ice,” head coach Danton Cole said. “We had some good things to build on from this past weekend, and we will continue to work as we get ready for two tough USHL opponents.”

The U18s opened the weekend with a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Hitmen on Saturday. Dylan Pavelek (Marysville, Mich.) scored the opening goal on a penalty shot, while Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) and Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.) added third-period goals. Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) stopped 26 shots to earn the win.

The squad closed out its week by dropping a 5-2 decision at the University of Massachusetts on Sunday. Eichel and Bjork registered the goals, while Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) finished with 17 stops in net and Minney made 11 saves in relief.

BYE WEEK: After playing nine games in a 15-day span, the U.S. National Under-17 Team will enjoy a bye this week. The squad returns to action on Jan. 24 at Muskegon.

“It will be good this week to have room for practice on the ice and time to spend in the weight room,” head coach Don Granato said. “We just finished a difficult stretch in our schedule and this break will allow time for our squad to work on different areas of the game before we return to action.”

The U17s dropped a pair of USHL road games over the weekend, falling 5-1 at Indiana on Friday and 6-3 at Youngstown on Saturday. Against Indiana, Dennis Yan (Troy, Mich.) registered the lone goal, while Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) finished with 19 saves in net.

Colin White (Hanover, Mass.), Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.), and Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) tallied the goals in the loss at Youngstown.  Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) finished with 14 saves.

Notebook

  • This Saturday’s game against Waterloo will be Star Wars Night at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. The U18s will welcome characters from the beloved film franchise and extended universe of Star Wars and take to the ice wearing specially designed jerseys.
    The jerseys, designed by Darrin Brege in cooperation with Lucasfilm, will be auctioned off online here. Bidding will commence on Monday, Jan. 28, and end at 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 13. Proceeds will benefit C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Tickets for USA home games are $7 for adults and $5 for children, seniors and active military members. Youth hockey players wearing their team jerseys are admitted for just $1. Tickets can be purchased by calling the NTDP at (734) 327-9251.
  • Justin Florek (Marquette, Mich./2006-08), who made his National Hockey League debut for the Boston Bruins on Jan. 4, tallied his first NHL goal on Jan. 9 as the Bruins dropped a 4-2 decision to the Los Angeles Kings.
  • Two former National Team Development Program players were named to the Big Ten Conference Three Stars on Jan. 7. The University of Minnesota’s Travis Boyd (Hopkins, Minn./2009-11) was selected as the first star as posting four points (2-2) while leading the Gophers to a win and a tie at the Mariucci Classic. University of Wisconsin defenseman Jake McCabe (Eau Claire, Wis./2009-11) earned third star honors. McCabe registered three points (2-1) as Wisconsin posted a weekend split with the University of Alaska Anchorage.
  • Former NTDP netminder Collin Olson (Apple Valley, Minn./2010-12) was named the USHL Goaltender of the Week for the week of Jan. 6-12. Olson won two starts for the Sioux City Musketeers, including a 3-0 shutout.
  • Team USA is a combined 16-4-1 (W-L-OTL) in USHL play.
  • The U18s bring a record of 20-11-1 (W-L-OTL) into this week’s action.
  • The U18s are paced in by Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y./14-32), who has totaled 46 points in 30 games. Jack Eichel (21-20) ranks second with 41 points, while Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y./20-18) sits third with 38 points. Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y./6-23) is fourth with 29 points and Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich./15-12) is fifth with 27 points.
  • In goal for the U18s, Edwin Minney holds a 10-6-1 mark along with a 2.88 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage.  Blake Weyrick is 4-3-0 with a 3.38 GAA and an .887 save percentage.
  • The U17s carry a 21-13-0 (W-L-OTL) record into the bye week.
  • Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y./13-36) paces the U17s with 49 points, while Colin White (26-21) ranks second with 49 points. Luke Kirwan (Dewitt, N.Y./19-20) is third with 39 points. Luke Kunin (13-13) and Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y./11-15) are tied for fourth with 26 points apiece.
  • In net for the U17s, Michael Lackey and Luke Opilka share the duties. Lackey holds an 11-7-0 record along with a 2.92 GAA and an .886 save percentage. Opilka is 10-6-0 with a 3.85 GAA and an .886 save percentage.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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