Both the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams will be in action this week. The U17s will host a pair of United States Hockey League opponents, while the U18s hit the road again for a single contest.
FINAL COLLEGE GAME: The U.S. National Under-18 Team closes out its college schedule when it heads to Michigan State University on Saturday. Face-off is set for 7 p.m. EST at Munn Ice Arena.
The U18s are coming off a 2-1-0 (W-L-OTL) week in which they beat Bowling Green State University 6-1 on Friday and the Indiana Ice 4-1 on Saturday before falling 5-4 at Indiana on Sunday.
“We had three pretty good games last week; this team worked hard and battled through each game,” said head coach Danton Cole, whose squad holds a 7-8 mark against NCAA competition this season. “We will continue to work on the little things in practice this week as we get ready for this week’s game at State.”
Against Bowling Green, Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.) and Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) each scored one goal and added two assists in the win. Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill.), Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.), Shane Gersich (Chaska, Minn.), and Ryan Wagner (Park Ridge, Ill.) also tallied goals. Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) stopped 23 shots to earn the win.
Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) kicked out 34 of 35 shots in the win over Indiana. Bjork, Tuch, Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.), and Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) registered goals.
In the loss to Indiana, Eichel paced the offense with a pair of goals, while Tuch and Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) added single tallies. Weyrick stopped one shot before Minney closed out the game with 18 stops.
The Michigan State game is filled with National Team Development Program connections. Cole was a four-year letter winner at MSU (1985-89) and was part of the squad that captured the 1986 NCAA Division I championship.
The Spartans’ roster features former NTDP netminder Will Yanakeff (Jerome, Mich./2008-09). Meanwhile, two current U18 players have committed to play at MSU. They are goalie Minney and forward Dylan Pavelek (Marysville, Mich.).
HOME SWEET HOME: The U.S. National Under-17 Team returns to the Ann Arbor Ice Cube to host the Dubuque Fighting Saints at 7 p.m. on Saturday and again at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday in USHL action.
The U17s are coming off a 5-1 win over the North American Hockey League 18U Selects on Feb. 18. Dennis Yan (Troy, Mich.) tallied a pair of goals, while Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) kicked out 14 of 15 shots in the game. Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.), Caleb Jones (Frisco, Texas) and Luke Kirwan (Dewitt, N.Y.) also tallied goals in the win.
“We had a great team effort on Tuesday night; the players really responded on the ice,” head coach Don Granato said. “We have had a challenging schedule this year so it was great for our players to be able to go home for a few days last week, and hopefully they will come back refreshed and ready to face another challenge against one of the top teams in the USHL.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.