AMHERST, Mass. – Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y./Lake Erie Monsters) notched two goals and an assist and Brandon Halverson (Traverse City, Mich./Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) and Alex Nedeljkovic (Parma, Ohio/Niagara IceDogs) shared the shutout as the U.S. National Junior Team defeated UMass, 4-0, here tonight at Mullins Center.
“I was impressed with the level of competition our players brought tonight,” said Ron Wilson, head coach of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team. “We challenged them to prove they deserve to be here and I think the result shows they responded well.”
Given the start, Nedeljkovic was called upon early to make back-to-back glove saves just six minutes into the game. Nick Schmaltz (Verona, Wis./Univ. of North Dakota) opened the scoring for Team USA at 12:16 when he collected the puck along the left boards, curled towards the slot and fired a wrist shot into the left corner past UMass’s Alex Wakaluk.
Colin White (Hanover, Mass./Boston College) nearly doubled Team USA’s lead two minutes later with a chance alone in front of the net but Wakaluk was there to make the save. UMass almost evened the score with 1:32 remaining when Nedeljkovic’s initial glove save bounced towards the net but Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich./Univ. of Michigan) was able to bat the puck away to maintain the shutout.
The U.S. continued the pressure in the second stanza. After a blocked two-on-one opportunity and a shot off the post by Ryan MacInnis (St. Louis, Mo./Kitchener Rangers), a spin-around backhander by Milano at 11:52 gave Team USA a 2-0 lead. The play started when Christian Dvorak (Palos, Ill./London Knights) skated down the left wing and found Milano with a pass between the hash marks.
Five minutes into the final frame, Milano collected his second of the night to make it 3-0. Just :42 later a cycle in the corner with Dvorak and Milano ended with Dvorak finding White alone in front where he hammered the puck home to account for the 4-0 final.
Halverson replaced Nedeljkovic midway through the period and each goalie finished with seven saves to help preserve the shutout.
The U.S. National Junior Team will travel to Finland tomorrow and continue its training camp in Vierumaki, Finland, Dec. 20-24.
NOTES: The U.S. National Junior Team outshot UMass, 33-14, including 20-7 over the last two periods. For complete box score, click here ... Team USA will face Finland in an exhibition game on Dec. 22 at Isku Arena in Lahti, Finland ... USA Hockey will announce the final roster for the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team by Dec. 24 … Use the hashtag #USAWJC on Twitter to join the conversation about the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team … Following its time in Boston, the U.S. will move to Vierumaki, Finland, where it will continue preparations for the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship. The camp will include a game against Finland on Dec. 22 … Ron Wilson (Riverside, R.I.) is head coach of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team. Wilson, who directed the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey team to the silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, ranks eighth all-time in National Hockey League history in wins, and is the all-time winningest American coach in NHL history … The assistant coaches for Team USA are Chris Chelios (Chicago, Ill./Detroit Red Wings), Danton Cole (Pontiac, Mich./USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program) and Kevin Reiter (Pittsburgh, Pa./USA’s Hockey’s NTDP) … Nick Siergiej (South Bend, Ind./University of Notre Dame) is the video coordinator … Jim Johannson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Hockey’s assistant executive director of hockey operations, is serving as the general manager of Team USA for the seventh consecutive year … Ryan Martin (Simsbury, Conn./Detroit Red Wings) and Ben Smith (Gloucester, Mass./USA Hockey) are assisting with player evaluation during the Boston training camp ... USA Hockey’s international council, chaired by Gavin Regan (Potsdam, N.Y.), vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams ... At the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, the U.S. will compete in a group with Canada, Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden. All U.S. games will be broadcast live on NHL Network. For more information about the tournament, please click here.
|Date||Opponent||Location||Result||U.S. Player of the Game|
|Sat., Dec. 26||Canada||Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 4-2||Colin White|
|Mon., Dec. 28||Sweden||Helsinki Ice Hall||L, 0-1||Zach Werenski|
|Wed., Dec. 30||Switzerland||Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 10-1||Auston Matthews|
|Thu., Dec. 31||Denmark||Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 4-1||Brandon Carlo|
|Sat., Jan. 2||Czech Republic
|Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 7-0||Nick Schmaltz|
|Mon., Jan. 4||Russia
|Hartwall Arena||L, 1-2||Christian Dvorak|
|Tues. , Jan. 5||Sweden
Bronze Medal Game
|Hartwall Arena||W, 8-3||Anders Bjork|