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Notebook (April 7) - U17 Season Wraps, U18s Prepare for Worlds

04/07/2014, 11:30am EDT
By Becky Olsen

While the U.S. National Under-17 Team ended its season on Saturday, the competition is just heating up for the Under-18 squad. As their high school classmates are on spring break, the U18s are heading to Finland this week to begin final preparations for the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's Under-18 World Championship.

READY FOR THE WORLD: The U.S. National Under-18 Team will leave for Finland on Wednesday (April 9) to continue training for the U18 World Championship, which begins on April 17. Team USA will play a pre-tournament contest against Germany on April 14.

“It’s a great time for us to get prepared,” head coach Danton Cole said. “We can sharpen some of the finer points of the game, whether it’s face-off situations or 6-on-5 situations. We can run through our systems. We have time to work on that. It’s nice, we have a great base of structure and we just want to fine tune a few things before that first game.” 

The U18s have not competed since posting back-to-back United States Hockey League wins over Omaha (5-4 on March 29) and Muskegon (4-3 on March 30).

SEASON OVER: The U.S. National Under-17 Team closed out its schedule with a pair of USHL home victories this past weekend, beating Sioux City, 9-6, on Friday and Dubuque, 7-4, on Saturday.

“I was proud of our team’s effort to close out the season and pick up two wins in the USHL,” said head coach Don Granato, whose squad finished the year with a 31-20-4 (W-L-OTL) record. “Our players will get this next week off to go home for spring break and then, when they come back, we will get back to work in the weight room and continue to skate and condition to get ready for next season.”

In the win over Sioux City, Luke Kirwan (DeWitt, N.Y.) paced the offense with two goals. Ryan Wagner (Park Ridge, Ill.), Colin White (Hanover, Mass.), Brendan Warren (Carleton, Mich.), Charles McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y.), Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.), Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio), and Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.) had single tallies. Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) finished with 13 stops.

Fischer registered a hat trick against Dubuque. Other goal scorers were Wagner, Warren, Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), and Nicholas Boka (Plymouth, Mich.). Weyrick earned his second straight victory in net and finished with 23 saves.

Notebook

  • Former NTDP forward Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor, Mich./2010-12) was selected as the University of Michigan’s captain for the 2014-15 season. J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill./2011-13) was selected as an alternate captain.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks signed defenseman Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa./2008-10/University of Notre Dame) to a two-year NHL entry-level contract. Johns helped Team USA capture gold at the 2010 U18 World Championship.  
  • Four former NTDP players and University Wisconsin teammates inked professional deals. The Buffalo Sabres signed defenseman Jake McCabe (Eau Claire, Wis./2009-11) to a three-year deal. Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill./2008-10) signed a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings, while Nicholas Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif./2010-12) earned a three-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks. In addition, Frankie Simonelli (Bensenville, Ill./2008-10) signed a Professional Try Out contract with the Boston Bruins organization. The defenseman will join the AHL’s Providence Bruins, the top minor league affiliate for Boston. Simonelli is signed with Providence through next season.
  • Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn./2009-11/RPI) agreed to terms as a free-agent forward with the New York Rangers.
  • The first eight NTPD commits for the 2014-15 season were announced on April 3. Forwards Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn.), Trent Frederic (St. Louis, Mo.), Max Jones (Rochester, Mich.), Patrick Khodorenko (Walnut Creek, Calif.) and Nick Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla.), along with defensemen Chad Krys (Ridgefield, Conn.), Griffin Luce (Williamsville, N.Y.) and Luke Martin (St. Louis, Mo.) will arrive in Ann Arbor in August. The players, all from the 1998 birth year, will compete as members of the U.S. National Under-17 Team.
  • Team USA finished with a combined 30-25-5 mark in the USHL and tied for fifth in the USHL Eastern Conference standings. The squad missed the playoffs by one point. The 30 wins tied the most-ever by the NTDP in the USHL.
  • Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y./16-58) led the U17s with 74 points. Colin White (Hanover, Mass./33-31) was second with 64 points while Luke Kirwan (DeWitt, N.Y./29-28) finished third with 57 points. Rounding out the top-five were Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill./19-23) and Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y./16-25) with 42 and 41 points, respectively.
  • In goal, Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) and Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) split time for the U17s. Lackey closed the year with a 13-13-0 with a 3.51 goals-against average and an .869 save percentage. Opilka was 14-9-1 with a 3.59 GAA and an .863 save percentage.
  • The U18s carry a 36-15-2 (W-L-OTL) record into the IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship.
  • Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./33-42) paces the U18s with 75 points, while Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y./24-49) is second with 73 points. Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y./28-32) ranks third with 60 points. Rounding out the top-five are Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich./29-20), who is fourth with 49 points and Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y./9-34), who is fifth with 43 points.
  • In net for the U18s, Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) and Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) have split time. Minney is 21-9-1 with a 2.75 GAA and an .898 save percentage. Weyrick is 12-4-1 with a 2.80 GAA and an .888 save percentage.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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