There are only two games on tap this week for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program squads, and both are for the U.S. National Under-18 Team. The U18s will play two United States Hockey League games, while the U17s enjoy a bye week.
BACK HOME: The U.S. National Under-18 Team returns to the Ann Arbor Ice Cube for a pair of USHL contests this weekend when it hosts the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders on Friday and Saturday. The puck drops at 7 p.m. EST both nights.
“Cedar Rapids is a good team,” head coach Danton Cole said. “We play two at home with them this weekend and then we go out there for two the following weekend. We are looking at the next two weeks as a playoff-series test for us. It will be how we set up, work on making adjustments and playing our game.”
Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) scored a pair of goals, including the overtime winner, to help propel the U18s to a 4-3 win at Michigan State University on Saturday. Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.) and Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) also tallied goals. Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) earned the win, finishing with 20 saves.
“After our struggles last year in the USHL where we couldn’t get over the hump and win, we really wanted to do better in the USHL this season and put ourselves in a position where we could get wins against college opponents,” said Cole, whose squad finished with an 8-8 mark against NCAA competition this season.
BYE WEEK: After splitting a pair of USHL contests last week, the U.S. National Under-17 Team will take a break from game action this week. The U17s dropped a 5-3 decision to Dubuque on Saturday before rebounding with a 5-2 victory on Sunday.
In game one, Luke Kirwan (DeWitt, N.Y.), Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) and Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) registered goals. Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) earned the start in goal, stopping 30 shots.
Kirwan registered a pair of goals in the game two win while White, Greenway and Grant Gabriele (Brighton, Mich.) added single tallies. Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) kicked out 23 of 25 shots to earn the win.
“We battled all weekend and it was great to see the team get rewarded for our efforts with a win on Sunday,” head coach Don Granato said. “It will be good to have time for practice and time in the weight room this week as we get prepared for six straight road games.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.