By Michael Caples –
The national teams for USA Hockey helped the hockey fanbase in our 50 states celebrate Veterans Day in style, as all four captured gold in their various international tournaments.
The two U.S. National Team Development Program squads – the Under-17 and Under-18 teams that skate out of Ann Arbor – both won in their Four Nations tournaments. The team fielded for the World Junior A Challenge won gold in Canada. And the women’s national team won the Four Nations tournament being played in Finland.
The U18 team won the lone tournament played on American soil, capturing the U18 title in the Four Nations tournament held at The Cube in Ann Arbor. The U18 team posted wins over Finland and Sweden in the preliminary rounds, losing only to Switzerland. In Saturday night’s rematch for gold against Sweden, the U.S. prevailed 3-1.
Tyler Kelleher led the way for the U18 team, scoring six points in four games. Macomb native Michael McCarron had two goals and one assist, while Sterling Heights native Evan Allen picked up two goals in the same time frame. Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif.) recorded all three wins in goal.
Dawson Cook (Cadillac), Trevor Hamilton (Grosse Point Farms) and Tyler Motte (St. Clair) also represent Michigan on the U18 team.
“I’m proud of how we played as a team throughout the entire tournament,” said Don Granato, head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Team, in a press release. “We need to build off these games and continue to improve as we move forward.”
The U17 team kept up with their U18 counterparts by winning gold in Switzerland. A 6-1 win over the host Swiss team on Sunday clinched the title for the U.S. squad, which posted a 2-1-0-0 record in the tournament.
Dylan Larkin (Waterford) and Dylan Pavelek (Marysville) are the lone Michigan natives on the U17 roster.
“The team played very well today and skated hard the whole sixty minutes,” said Pontiac native Danton Cole, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team, in a press release. “It was a successful tournament for the guys and we’ll look to carry this momentum with us moving forward.”
The U.S. Women’s National team grabbed the Four Nations title in Finland, beating rival Canada 3-0 in the final on Saturday. The women’s team posted a 3-1 record, with wins over Sweden and Finland by a combined score of 19-1. They lost to Canada 3-1 in preliminary play before winning in the gold-medal game.
“I’m very happy as to how our team came together this week,” said Katey Stone, head coach of Team USA, in a release. “We played tough, we played smart, we made some adjustments, we had great goaltending, and we played strong (defensively). I’m happy and proud of how (we) played.”
There were no Michigan natives on the women’s team roster.
The U.S. team in the World Junior A Challenge topped Canada West 6-3 late Sunday to clinch another title for USA Hockey. It was also revenge for the U.S., who lost to the same Canadian club in an exhibition contest to start their tournament play. However, in the games that counted, the U.S. was a perfect 4-0, and they outscored their opponents 26-11.
Michigan was well-represented on the Junior Challenge roster – Canton’s Mike Downing, Macomb’s Sheldon Dries, Troy’s Thomas Ebbing, and Smiths Creek’s Nicholas Schilkey all wore the Red, White and Blue in the tournament.