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Notebook (March 24) - Home Schedule Wraps This Week for U18s

03/24/2014, 3:15pm EDT
By Becky Olsen

The U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams continue United States Hockey League action this week with four games. The U18s finish their schedule with two contests, while the U17s wrap up a six-game road trip with two more games.

FINAL HOME GAMES: The U.S. National Under-18 Team plays its final two regular-season home games this week. The U18s entertain the Omaha Lancers at 7 p.m. EDT Saturday before facing the Muskegon Lumberjacks at 3:30 p.m Sunday.

“There is a bit of finality this weekend,” said head coach Danton Cole, whose squad carries a 34-15-2 (W-L-OTL) record into the final week of play. “There is so much going on for so long, but I think sometime this week we will start thinking about that. Then the players start thinking about how it’s our last home game and how they leave in 10 days for the [World U18 Championships] and then afterwards, they are done here. It’s a big two years out of their lives, but from the guys who come back, they will tell you how much the time and the team means to them.”

The U18s swept a pair of USHL contests over the weekend, winning 5-2 at Chicago on Saturday and 5-3 over Youngstown on Sunday.

Against Chicago, Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.), Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.), Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.) and Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) registered the goals. Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) finished with 17 saves.

Larkin registered two goals while Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill.), Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), and Matthews had single tallies in the win over Youngstown. Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) finished with 13 saves.

“As we are ramping up towards the World Championships, I think the details are important,” Cole said. “We want to keep playing hard and playing the right way. I think our guys did that. It was a good weekend for us — we wanted two wins and we got it.”

FINAL ROAD SWING: The U.S. National Under-17 Team closes out its six-game road trip with two contests. The squad heads to Bensenville, Ill., to play the Chicago Steel on Friday. On Saturday, the team travels to Green Bay, Wis., to face the Gamblers.

“We need to keep working and playing our game,” said head coach Don Granato, whose squad is 29-19-2-0 (W-L-OTL-T). “We are definitely in a difficult stretch of our schedule, playing six straight road contests. Our team just needs to improve each time we step out onto the ice.”

The U17s dropped a pair of road games this weekend, falling 7-3 at Youngstown on Friday and 6-1 at Muskegon on Saturday. At Youngstown, Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.), Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) and Zach Werenski scored the goals. Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) and Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) combined for 21 stops. Ryan Wagner (Park Ridge, Ill.) scored the lone goal against Muskegon while Opilka and Lackey finished with 29 saves.

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.
  • Zach Werenski was named the USHL’s Defenseman of the Week on March 18. Werenski had three goals and five points in a split with Lincoln (7-4 loss on March 15) and Omaha (5-3 win on March 16).
  • With two points against Youngstown, Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) moved past Peter Mueller (Bloomington, Minn./2003-05) and Matthew Nieto (Long Beach, Calif./2008-10) for eighth on the NTDP all-time points list with 123.
  • Noah Hanifin had a four-point night (1-3) in the U18s win over Chicago on Saturday. He has 40 points this season, tying him for seventh on the single-season NTDP points list with Cam Fowler (Farmington Hills, Mich./2008-09), David Warsofsky (North Marshfield, Mass./2007-08) and Ryan Whitney (Scituate, Mass./2000-01). Freddy Meyer (Sanbornville, N.H./1989-90) is the NTDP’s all-time leader with 51 points.
  • University of Notre Dame defenseman Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa./2008-10) was named the Hockey East Co-Defensive Player of the Week on March 17. Johns scored three goals as the Fighting Irish beat Boston College in the Hockey East playoffs.
  • Hockey East also named its all-conference team on March 20. Stephen Johns received second-team accolades. Goaltender Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif./2012-13/Boston College), defenseman Michael Paliotta (Westport, Conn./2009-11/Vermont) and forward Bill Arnold (Needham, Mass./2009-10/Boston College) were named honorable mention all-stars.
  • The ECAC announced its all-conference team on March 20, and two former NTDP players were represented. Forward Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn./2009-11/RPI) earned first-team honors while goaltender Andy Iles (Ithaca, N.Y./2009-10/Cornell) received second-team honors.
  • University of Michigan forward J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill./2011-13) was voted the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year.
  • The University of Wisconsin’s Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill./2008-10) and Jake McCabe (Eau Claire, Wis./2009-11) received first-team distinction. Joining Compher on the second team is Wisconsin’s Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif./2010-12) and Frankie Simonelli (Bensenville, Ill./2008-10).
  • Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor, Mich./2010-12/Michigan), Hudson Fasching (Burnsville, Minn./2011-13/Minnesota) and Brady Skjei (Lakeville, Minn./2010-12/Minnesota) were honorable mention selections. Compher and Fashing were named to the all-rookie squad.
  • Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley, Ariz./2008-10/Michigan) and Simonelli were Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honorees.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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