ANDOVER, Mass. — The U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 team was in Massachusetts over the weekend to play exhibition games against Hockey East opponents, the roster chock full of 2004-born players who are expected to be selected at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft in early July. Team USA beat Boston University on Friday but lost the Sunday matchup at Lawler Rink to Merrimack College by an 8-2 score.
Although top center Logan Cooley didn’t make the trip in order to attend Team USA’s World Junior Championship camp, the NTDP 18 squad still boasted a lot of future pro talent, including St. Sebastian’s star Michael Callow (South Boston, Mass.), who wore No. 24 and was in the lineup against the Warriors.
USA fell behind early, with Alex Jefferies (Lunenburg, Mass.) scoring the game’s first goal off the rush 89 seconds in, and Merrimack never looking back after that, jumping out to a 4-0 lead halfway through the second period. The NTDP made things interesting with two quick goals by defensemen Lane Hutson and Ryan Chesley to make it 4-2. Merrimack took a 5-2 lead into the final frame and closed it out with three more tallies in the blowout.
It was a tough day for UNH recruit Tyler Muszelik, who was beaten cleanly on multiple shots and appeared to have trouble tracking pucks here, finishing with six goals allowed on 32 shots. With Dylan Silverstein back in Michigan for WJC camp, Colin Winn (Westford, Mass.) of the Boston Junior Bruins (UPHL NCDC) backed up Muszelik. Winn played 3:20 of the final period, facing 2 shots and giving up a goal.
Here are some observations of the four (minus Winn, who didn't play enough for a fair assessment) New Englanders on the NTDP roster, plus we rank the top performances of other Team USA players in a tough game from their perspective.