BOSTON — Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass./Boston College) and Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./Boston University) scored shorthanded goals 24 seconds apart midway through the first period to help propel the preliminary U.S. National Junior Team past Boston University, 5-2, here tonight at Walter Brown Arena. It was the first of three pre-tournament games for the U.S. in preparation for the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
“It was great to play a game,” said Mark Osiecki, head coach of the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team. “I thought particularly the last two periods were a great evaluation tool for our staff as we get ready for the World Junior Championship. I’d like to thank the fans for their great support tonight, and also Boston University for their hospitality in hosting us this week.”
Team USA took a 1-0 lead 9:37 into the opening stanza after Hanifin converted an outlet pass from Chase De Leo (La Mirada, Calif./Portland Winterhawks) with Ryan Collins off for interference. Eichel carried up the right wing on a two-on-one and snapped the puck past BU netminder Matt O’Connor just 24 seconds later for a second shorthanded goal and a 2-0 U.S. lead after 20 minutes.
Just 2:04 into the second frame, Anthony DeAngelo (Philadelphia, Pa./Sarnia Sting) floated the puck toward the BU net and De Leo chipped in Sonny Milano’s (Massapequa, N.Y./Plymouth Whalers) rebound to make it 3-0.
BU’s Brandon Hickey narrowed the gap to 3-1 after two periods with his goal from the center point at 11:47.
JT Compher (Northbrook, Ill./University of Michigan) passed the puck behind the opposing net from the right corner to Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y./U.S. National Under-18 Team) who pulled it around and passed across the goalmouth to the awaiting Compher for a tap-in goal at 9:21 to give the U.S. a 4-1 cushion. BU again pulled within two goals when Danny O’Regan banged in a rebound just 2:10 later, before DeAngelo capped the scoring, flipping the puck into an empty net from outside the blue line with 28 seconds left.
Brandon Halverson (Traverse City, Mich./Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) and Alex Nedeljkovic (Parma, Ohio/Plymouth Whalers) split time in goal. Halverson stopped all six shots he faced in the first half of the contest, while Nedeljkovic made 10 saves on 12 BU shots.
For boxscore of game, click here.
NOTES: Following tonight’s game, the 30-player U.S. preliminary roster was trimmed with forwards Adam Erne (North Branford, Conn./Quebec Remparts) and Michael McCarron (Macomb, Mich./London Knights); and defenseman Jack Dougherty (Cottage Grove, Minn./University of Wisconsin) being released … The U.S. will travel to Kingston, Ontario, tomorrow morning where it will continue preparations for the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. Team USA will play two additional pre-tournament games there, including Sunday (Dec. 21) vs. Germany and next Tuesday (Dec. 23) against Sweden. Both games will be streamed live by FASTHockey.com … Visit WorldJuniors.USAHockey.com for complete coverage of the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team.