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U18s Claim Both Contests This Weekend Versus RoughRiders

03/08/2014, 9:30pm EST
By USA Hockey

Photo by Tom Sorensen.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) registered two assists and Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) netted the game-winning goal as the U.S. National Under-18 Team defeated the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, 3-2, here tonight at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. With the win, the U18s improved to 17-4-1 (W-L-OTL) against United States Hockey League competition this season.

Brandon Fortunato (North Hills, N.Y.) opened the scoring for Team USA at 9:35 of the first period. Fortunato executed a give-and-go with Tuch, who skated down the right wing into the RoughRiders’ zone. Fortunato sprinted to the right hash before taking a centering feed from Tuch and launching a shot that found the upper left corner. The U.S. doubled its lead with just over a minute remaining. Tuch left a drop pass for Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill.) just inside the attacking blueline. Belpedio fired a shot that bounced off Danny Tirone’s pads and onto the stick of Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.). Eichel buried the rebound chance for the 61st goal of his National Team Development Program career.

Cedar Rapids scored the only goal of the middle frame at 5:16. Team USA fired nine shots on Tirone in the frame, but couldn’t capitalize.

The RoughRiders knotted the game, 2-2, at 1:55 of the third stanza. Matthews clinched the victory for the Under-18 Team at the 11:03 mark. Nolan Stevens (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) sent a quick shot from the top of the crease that was deflected off Tirone. Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) collected the rebound on the opposite side of the net for a second opportunity before Matthews buried the third chance to secure the win.  

Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) kicked out 21 shots for Team USA in the victory, while Tirone stopped 30 shots for Cedar Rapids.

The U.S. National Under-18 Team will meet the RoughRiders for the third time in seven days when they travel to Cedar Rapids on Friday, March 14. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. EST at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.

Notes

Team USA outshot Cedar Rapids, 30-21 ... The U.S. National Under-18 Team now has 12 wins in its last 13 outings dating back to Jan. 24. Team USA has faced USHL, college and international competition over that stretch ... Jack Eichel is riding a six-game point streak within the USHL. The forward has six goals and eight assists in that span. He has also registered a combined +9 rating in those contests ... Alex Tuch is on a five-game point streak within the USHL, including goals in four of the last five games ... With his 61st career tally tonight, Jack Eichel moves into sole possession of 10th place in career goals at the National Team Development Program. Eichel passes Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif./2009-11) on that list ... Sonny Milano is now sixth in career assists at the NTDP. Milano has 73 assists, while the next closest players, Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis./2003-05) and Rocco Grimaldi, both have 76 ... Follow the NTDP on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Stars of the Game

1st Star
U.S. National Under-18 Team
Alex Tuch (2 assists)

2nd Star
U.S. National Under-18 Team
Auston Matthews (1 goal)

3rd Star
U.S. National Under-18 Team
Nolan Stevens (1 assist)

Photo Gallery

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