SAULT STE. MARIE, Ontario — Team USA erased a two-goal deficit in the third period to send the game into overtime and Joel Farabee (Cicero, N.Y.) netted the game winner as the U.S. National Under-17 Team topped the Czech Republic, 3-2, in the opening preliminary round game of the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge here tonight.
"We obviously didn't get off to the start we wanted to," said Danton Cole, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team. "But once we got out there for the second, we were moving the puck more and I give the guys credit; they stuck with it and kept with what was working. I'm proud of the way they battled back and now we have to show up tomorrow and pick up where we left off."
The Czech Republic opened the scoring 2:34 into the game with a slapshot during four-on-four play, the only goal of the first period.
At 3:51 of the second frame, the U.S. got a power play opportunity when Czech Republic’s Zack Malik was called for interference. Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass.) and Ty Emberson (Eau Claire, Wis.) each had multiple opportunities during the man-advantage, but goaltender Lukas Dostal held Team USA scoreless.
Just short of the midway point of the period, the Czech Republic converted on a two-on-one when Tomas Dajcar pulled the puck to his backhand and put it in the U.S. net.
With three minutes remaining in the frame, Farabee had an opportunity from a tight angle deep in the Czech Republic zone. The puck bounced around in the crease but was cleared out before the U.S. could finish.
At 4:57, Bode Wilde (Birmingham, Mich.) cut the Czech Republic’s lead in half when he received the puck at the right point, skated into the middle and ripped a wrist shot into the net. Jonathan Gruden (Rochester, Mich.) was credited with the lone assist on the play.
Patrick Giles (Chevy Chase, Md.) tied it up with 4:38 on the clock by stuffing home a loose puck in the crease off a shot by Jacob Semik (Canton, Mich.) to send the game into overtime.
Just :29 into the overtime period, Emberson connected with Farabee in the neutral zone. Farabee collected the puck, skated past the Czech Republic defensemen and beat Dostal one-on-one for the win.
Team USA will continue preliminary round play tomorrow (Oct. 31) when it takes on Canada White at 4 p.m. ET.
NOTES: Joel Farabee was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... Team USA is 0-1-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) at this year's tournament ... For more information on the U.S. National Under-17 Team competing at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, click here… The U.S. is competing in Group A with Canada Black, Canada White and the Czech Republic, while Group B includes Canada Red, Finland, Russia and Sweden.
Photos by Matt Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images
All games will take place at the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.