Photo by Rena Laverty
LINCOLN, Neb. — Jack Hughes (Orlando, Fla.) and Cole Caufield (Stevens Point, Wis.) each delivered a pair of goals, but the U.S. National Under-18 Team dropped a 6-5 shootout decision to the Lincoln Stars on Friday night at the Ice Box.
The U18s' overall record fell to 34-12-2-0 (W-L-OTL-SOL) with the loss. Team USA's combined USHL record stands at 22-17-2-4.
Caufield opened scoring when he found space along the end boards and slipped a wraparound by the left post for his first of the contest. The Wisconsin commit later added a second goal after he corralled a loose puck at the edge of the crease and finished with ease.
Caufield's two tallies marked the 98th and 99th goals of his NTDP career, which ranks second only to Phil Kessel (NTDP 2003-05) all-time record of 104.
Meanwhile, Hughes continued to ascend the NTDP's record books, as well. His first goal, which came off a centering feed from U17 call-up Matthew Beniers (Hingham, Mass.), represented Hughes' 181st career point as a member of the NTDP. Hughes trails only Clayton Keller's (NTDP 2014-16) program record of 189 points across a two-year span.
Team USA took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission and Hughes extended the advantage to four when he made a nifty move in front and elevated a backhand shot early in the second period.
However, Lincoln responded to the 4-0 deficit and scored five of the final six goals to force overtime.
Cam York's (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) power-play tally with under five minutes to play represented the U18s' final goal. Hughes collected the primary assist on the play to round out his three-point night.
A scoreless 3-on-3 overtime session sent the game to a shootout, which Lincoln claimed in four rounds.
Cameron Rowe (Wilmette, Ill.) stopped 22 of 27 shots in the loss.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team concludes its two-game season series against Lincoln on Saturday. Puck drop is slated for 8:05 p.m. ET at the Ice Box.
NOTES: Team USA outshot Lincoln by a 54-27 margin ... The U18s went 1-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill ... Cole Caufield earned the No. 2 Star of the Game.