BENSENVILLE, Ill. - Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.) netted one goal and collected three assists, and five different players scored a goal, as the U.S. National Under-18 Team skated past the Chicago Steel, 5-2, here tonight at The Edge Ice Arena.
Team USA opened the scoring at 15:54 of the first frame. Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.) started the play with a drop pass to Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) at the U.S. blue line. Larkin skated the length of the ice before backhanding the puck behind Steel netminder Chris Nell. Hanifin earned the secondary assist.
Chicago was whistled for a five-minute penalty early in the second and Team USA capitalized twice on the ensuing power play. Hanifin banged home a Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) rebound for the second U.S. tally. Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) also assisted. Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) found Hanifin from the corner and went hard to the net. Hanifin launched a shot that caromed off Nell and to Matthews for the tip in, give the Under-18s a 3-0 lead. Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) also registered a helper on the play. The Steel responded with back-to-back goals to cut the U.S. lead back to one. Hitchcock reclaimed a two-goal advantage at 13:04 while shorthanded. Hitchcock entered the Chicago zone and beat two Steel defenders, backhanding the puck past Nell, off the crossbar and over the goal line. Hanifin and Eichel assisted.
White scored a second short-handed goal for the U.S. into and empty net at 18:02 of the final frame to secure the 5-2 victory.
Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) made seven of his 17 saves in the third period in the win for Team USA while Nell kicked out 26 shots for the Steel.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team will face the Youngstown Phantoms tomorrow (March 23) afternoon at 3:30 p.m. EDT at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. Live streaming of the game is available online at FASTHockey.com.
Team USA outshot Chicago, 31-19 ... The U18s are 18-5-2 this season versus teams in the USHL ... Jack Eichel recorded his 14th multi-point effort within the USHL this season. The forward continues to climb the all-time NTDP list in career points, recently surpassing Colin Wilson (Greenwich, Conn./2005-07) for tenth ... Noah Hanifin has nine points (1-8) over a four-game streak within the USHL. The defenseman passes Kevin Shattenkirk (New Rochelle, N.Y./2005-07) and Ryan Suter (Madison, Wis./2001-03) for tenth place on the all-time list for points by a defenseman at the NTDP ... Ryan Hitchcock returned from over a month's absence to register his first points since Feb. 7 ... Dylan Larkin has three goals in his past two USHL games ... Follow the NTDP on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
U.S. National Under-18 Team
Noah Hanifin (1 goal, 3 assists)
C.J. Smith (1 goal)
U.S. National Under-18 Team
Ryan Hitchcock (1 goal, 1 assist)