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Notebook (March 17) - Four USHL Games on Tap for NTDP

03/17/2014, 11:15am EDT
By Becky Olsen

It’s a busy week for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program with a combined four United States Hockey League games on the schedule. The U.S. National Under-18 Team plays once on the road and once at home while the U.S. National Under-17 Team heads out on the road for two.

SPLIT WEEKEND: The U.S. National Under-18 Team heads out on the road on Saturday to face the Chicago Steel before returning home to the Ann Arbor Ice Cube to entertain the Youngstown Phantoms on Sunday.

“We have another busy week, but it will be nice to get home and play on Sunday,” head coach Danton Cole said. “We will continue to work on different areas of our game and get ready for two different opponents this weekend.”

The U18s dropped a pair of games over the weekend at Cedar Rapids, falling 5-2 on Friday and 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday. In Friday’s game, Shane Gersich (Chaska, Minn.) and Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) registered the goals, while Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) made 11 saves. On Saturday, Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) tallied a pair of goals, while Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill.) had the other. Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) finished with 17 stops.

ROAD TRIPPING: The U.S. National Under-17 Team continues its road swing with two games this weekend. The U17s head to Youngstown, Ohio, to face the Phantoms on Friday before traveling to Muskegon, Mich., to play the Lumberjacks on Saturday.

“We continue our difficult stretch of games,” head coach Don Granato said. “We need to keep working hard and focus on the bigger picture of development and getting better each game. It was great to pick up the split last weekend on the road. The team really responded on Sunday and earned a hard-fought victory.”

The U17s split a pair of USHL road games this weekend, falling 7-4 at Lincoln on Saturday before beating Omaha 5-3 on Sunday.

Against Lincoln, Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) registered a pair of goals, while Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) and Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) had single tallies. Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) kicked out 35 saves in net.

Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.) had a pair of goals in the win over Omaha on Sunday evening. Brendan Warren (Carleton, Mich.), Bracco and Werenski also scored. Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) earned the win in net, finishing with 23 stops.

Notebook

  • Tickets for USA home games are $7 for adults and $5 for children, seniors and active military members. Youth hockey players wearing their team jerseys are admitted for $1. Tickets can be purchased at the door or by calling the NTDP at (734) 327-9251.
  • Three former NTPD players earned National Collegiate Hockey Conference all-conference honors. Austin Czarnik (Washington, Mich./2008-10/Miami University) earned first-team honors while Chase Balisy (Fullerton, Calif./2008-10/Western Michigan University) and Riley Barber (Livonia, Mich./2011-12/Miami University) received second-team accolades.
  • The University of Wisconsin’s Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif./2010-12) was named the Big Ten Conference Second Star of the Week on March 11. Kerdiles tallied two goals and six points in the Badgers two-game road sweep at Penn State University
  • For a second straight week, University of Minnesota Duluth’s Kyle Osterberg (Lakeville, Minn./2010-12) earned NCHC Rookie of the Week honors. Osterberg posted one goal and four points in a split with the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
  • Blake Pietila (Brighton, Mich./2009-11), who plays for Michigan Tech, was selected to the 2013-14 WCHA All-Academic Team. The junior is majoring in marketing.
  • The U18s bring a 32-15-2 (W-L-OTL) mark into this week’s action.
  • Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y./21-47) paces the U18s with 68 points, while Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./32-35) is second with 67 points. Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y./28-26) is third with 54 points, while Dylan Larkin (25-20) is fourth with 45 points. Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y./8-30) rounds out the top-five with 38 points.
  • In goal for the U18s, Edwin Minney and Blake Weyrick split time between the pipes. Minney is 18-9-1 with a 2.71 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage. Weyrick is 9-4-1 with a 2.86 GAA and an .887 save percentage.
  • The U17s carry a 29-17-2 (W-L-OTL) overall mark into this weekend’s action.
  • The U17s are led by Jeremy Bracco (15-52) with 67 points. Colin White (Hanover, Mass./32-31) is second with 63 points, while Luke Kirwan (DeWitt, N.Y./26-25) is third with 51 points. Jordan Greenway (15-21) and Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill./14-22) are tied for fourth with 36 points.
  • In net for the U17s, Michael Lackey and Luke Opilka split duties. Lackey is 14-10-1 with a 3.33 GAA and an .873 save percentage. Meanwhile, Opilka is 15-7-1 with a 3.55 GAA and an .868 save percentage.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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