PLYMOUTH, Mich. — The University of Michigan ice hockey team defeated the USA Hockey National Team Development Program U-18 team, 7-3, Saturday night (Dec. 2) at USA Hockey Arena in an exhibition contest.
Michigan opened the scoring 5:09 into the first period when senior captain Tony Calderone found the back of the net off a wide-open shot just inside the right faceoff circle. He was set up on the play by freshman Michael Pastujov and junior Cooper Marody.
Calderone doubled the Wolverines’ lead at 12:11 when his pass intended for freshman Josh Norris bounced off a defender and slid past USA’s goalie, giving Calderone his second goal of the night. Calderone was assisted on the goal by seniors Dexter Dancsand Sam Piazza.
The Maize and Blue weren’t done in the first period, as a minute later sophomore Adam Winborg rifled a shot into the top corner at the 13:06 mark. The shot came off of a clean faceoff win by fellow sophomore Jake Slaker, giving U-M a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Wolverines picked up where they left off when the “DMC” line connected on a power-play goal 5:06 into the second period. Marody found Calderone wide open on the half boards, who then fired it to Dancs uncovered at the backdoor for an easy tap in to extend the lead to 4-0.
Team USA answered right back with a power-play goal of its own less than two minutes later, cutting the U-M lead to 4-1 with 13:08 left to play in the second period.
The National Team Development Program continued its pressure and was able to net its second goal of the contest, shortening the Maize and Blue lead to 4-2 at the 8:42 mark of the second period.
Michigan’s lead was whittled to one when Team USA took advantage of a broken play and bounced the puck off of Michigan goaltender Hayden Lavigne from a sharp angle at the 16:53 mark in the second period to reduce the Wolverines’ lead to 4-3 heading into the second intermission.
The Maize and Blue opened up the scoring in the third period when Calderone scored his third goal of the night to complete the hat trick at the 4:26 mark. Marody and Dancs assisted on the goal, marking the second all-DMC line goal of the night, and extending the Michigan lead to 5-3.
The Wolverines continued the pressure after the ensuing faceoff and were rewarded 12 seconds later when sophomore Will Lockwood scored his first goal of the night at the 4:38 mark. Lockwood was on the receiving end of a no-look pass from Piazza from behind the Team USA net, while Slaker was also credited with an assist on the play.
Nick Pastujov increased Michigan’s lead to 7-3 at the 11:09 mark of the third period when he was set up on the doorstep by his brother, Michael, with Dakota Raabe adding an assist on the goal as well.
Pastujov’s goal would be the last of the game as the Wolverines held off Team USA in the final minutes of the third to win 7-3, despite being outshot 30-28. Lavigne played the entire game and finished with 27 saves on the night.
With the win, Michigan improves to 16-2-0 all-time in the series with the USA Hockey National Team Development U-18 team that dates back to 2000.
The NTDP has produced 47 Michigan players over the years, including juniors Nicholas Boka and Brendan Warren, sophomores Will Lockwood, Griffin Luce, Luke Martin, Nick Pastujov and James Sanchez, and freshmen Quinn Hughes, Josh Norris and Michael Pastujov.
The Maize and Blue have a home-and-home series with rival Michigan State next week. The game on Thursday will take place in Ann arbor, while Friday’smatchup will be in East Lansing. Puck drop on Thursday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Michigan leads the all-time series 156-132-21 over it in-state rival, while going 1-2-2 against the Spartans last season.