The U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams will both hit the road this weekend for a combined four United States Hockey League contests. Team USA is 16-16-1 (W-L-OTL) in USHL play and sits seventh in the Eastern Conference standings.
RESTED AND READY: After enjoying a bye week, the U.S. National Under-17 Team heads back out on the road for two conference contests. The U17s travel to Muskegon, Mich., on Friday to face the Lumberjacks before heading to Green Bay, Wis., to meet the Gamblers on Saturday.
“We had a good week of practice and our players are ready to get back out on the ice in a game situation,” head coach Don Granato said. “We have two tough opponents to prepare for this weekend, and we will have a very short turnaround between our Friday and Saturday games.”
The U17s have been off since Jan. 11, when the squad dropped a 6-3 decision at Youngstown.
WEEKEND AWAY: The U.S. National Under-18 Team heads back out on the road for a pair of USHL games. The squad will travels to Youngstown, Ohio, to face the Phantoms on Friday before heading to Muskegon, Mich., on Saturday to meet the Lumberjacks.
“The last couple games were good for us,” head coach Danton Cole said. “It got us back, playing a little faster and playing the way we need to play. We want to get our penalty kill and power play clicking, essentially the rhythm of how we play, before we go over overseas [in early February].”
The U18s dropped a pair of one-goal games last weekend, falling 3-2 to Muskegon on Friday and 2-1 to Waterloo on Saturday. Against Muskegon, Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.) and Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) registered the goals. Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) stopped 19 of 22 shots in net. In the loss to Waterloo, Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) stopped 30 shots, while Larkin registered the lone tally.
NTDP AND NHL MID-TERM RANKINGS: The National Hockey League's Central Scouting released its midterm rankings of top prospects eligible for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft last week. Of the 217 players ranked, 24 skaters have ties to USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, including 14 current members of the U18 Team and the top three North American goaltenders.
Former NTDP netminder and current Boston College Eagle Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif./2010-2012) sits atop the list, while U18 netminders Edwin Minney and Blake Weyrick rank second and third, respectively. Former NTDP netminder Hunter Miska (North Branch, Minn./2011-13) is also ranked.
Six current or former NTDP skaters are slated to be selected in the first round, including U18 forwards Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.), Dylan Larkin, Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) and defensemen Jack Glover (Golden Valley, Minn.) and Jack Dougherty (Cottage Grove, Minn.). Additionally, Connor Chatham (Belleville, Ill./2011-12) is also projected to be a first-round pick.
The other NTDP players named on the list are Ryan Collins (Bloomington, Minn.), Ryan MacInnis (St. Louis, Mo./2012-13), Shane Eiserman (West Newbury, Mass./2012-13), Johnathan MacLeod (Dracut, Mass.), Josh Wesley (Raleigh, N.C./2012-13), Shane Gersich (Chaska, Minn.), Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.), Kevin Labanc (Staten Island, N.Y./2011-13), Ryan Hitchcock, Jared Fiegl (Parker, Colo.), Chris Wilkie (Omaha, Neb./2012-13), Joe Wegwerth (Brewster, N.Y.), Scott Savage (San Clemente, Calif./2011-13) and Evan Allen (Sterling Heights, Mich./2011-13).
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.