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Notebook (Feb. 3) - NTDP Squads Go Global for Five Nations

02/03/2014, 2:00pm EST
By Becky Olsen

The U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams head across the Atlantic Ocean this week for their respective Five Nations Tournaments. The U17s will travel to Sweden for their final overseas competition, while the U18s head to Russia. Both squads will face competition from the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden.

FIRST INTERNATIONAL TRIP: The U.S. National Under-17 Team heads to Sundsvall, Sweden, for the U17 Five Nations Tournament. The U17s open play against Finland on Wednesday before facing the Czech Republic on Friday. The squad closes out the tournament against Russia on Saturday and host Sweden on Sunday.

“It’s always nice to go back and play in our age group,” said head coach Don Granato, whose squad is 11-0-0 in international games this season. “One of our challenges will be playing four games against some good competition in a short period of time. We are looking to play with consistency and focus and to give 100 percent on each shift.”

In their lone action from last week, the U17s dropped a 4-1 United States Hockey League decision at Indiana on Thursday. Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.) registered the lone goal, while Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) stopped 20 shots between the pipes.

ANOTHER FIVE NATIONS: The U.S. National Under-18 Team heads to Dmitrov, Russia, for the U18 Five Nations Tournament. The U18s open play against host Russia on Tuesday, followed by a Thursday game against Finland. Sweden is up next on Friday before the team ends against the Czech Republic on Saturday.

“This trip is another good measuring stick for our players,” head coach Danton Cole said. “We have improved as a team since we went to the Four Nations in Finland this past November. It will be good to see where we are as a team; we want to see the guys play the right way and compete on both sides of the puck.”

The U18s posted a 5-1 win over previously unbeaten Adrian College on Jan. 28. Adrian is the top-ranked team in NCAA Division III. Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.), Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.), Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.), Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.) and Brandon Fortunato (North Hills, N.Y.) scored the goals. In net, Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) and Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) combined for 14 saves.


  • The U17s are competing in the Five Nations Tournament for a second straight year. Last year, Team USA finished third with a record of 2-0-1-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L).
  • The U17s have taken home top honors in each of their previous two international tournaments this season — the 2013 Four Nations Tournament in Slovakia and the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Nova Scotia.
  • The U18s are seeking their first title at the Five Nations Tournament since 2011. Team USA has claimed first-place six times (1999, 2005, 2007-09, 2011) and second place once (2010).
  • Former National Team Development Program and current Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter (Madison, Wis./2001-03) has been selected as one of two alternate captains for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team. Suter also served as alternate caption on his first U.S. Olympic Team in 2010.
    As a member of the NTDP, Suter skated in two International Ice Hockey Federation World Under-18 Championships, helping Team USA capture gold in 2002 and a fourth-place finish in 2003.
  • Former NTDP and current University of Michigan forward J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill./2011-13) was selected as the Big Ten Conference First Star on Jan. 28. Compher added five points (3-2) in Michigan’s series sweep of Michigan State, including a career-high four points (2-2) in the second game.
  • Brandon Fortunato's goal against Adrian was his first with the NTDP.
  • The U17s bring a 21-15-1 (W-L-OTL) overall mark into this week’s action.
  • Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y./13-36) and Colin White (Hanover, Mass./26-21) provide a 1-2 punch for the U17s with 49 and 47 points, respectively. Luke Kirwan (Dewitt, N.Y./19-20) sits third with 39 points, while Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo./13-14) is fourth with 27 points. Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y./11-15) and Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill./10-16) are tied for fifth with 26 points apiece.
  • In net for the U17s, Michael Lackey and Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) split duties. Lackey holds an 11-8-1 record along with a 2.92 goals-against average and an .885 save percentage. Opilka is 10-7-0 with a 3.92 GAA and an .864 save percentage.
  • The U18s carry a mark of 23-13-1 (W-L-OTL) into this week’s action.
  • Sonny Milano (16-37) paces the U18s with 53 points while Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./22-24) ranks second with 46 points. Alex Tuch (22-19) is third with 41 points. Rounding out the top-five are Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich./17-15) and Ryan Hitchcock (8-24), who both have tallied 32 points.
  • In goal for the U18s, Edwin Minney holds an 13-7-1 mark along with a 2.70 GAA and a .905 save percentage. Blake Weyrick is 5-4-0 with a 2.95 GAA and an .892 save percentage.

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