Photo by Jess Tuttle / Austin Bruins
AUSTIN, Minn. - The U.S. National Under-18 Team defeated the Austin Bruins, 5-0 Monday afternoon, behind goals from five different scorers and a combined shutout effort from netminders Gibson Homer (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Kaidan Mbereko (Aspen, Colo.).
Team USA forward Jeremy Wilmer (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) kicked off the scoring for the second time in three games with a nifty backhand shot late in the opening period. The goal was Wilmer's third of the season while Jack Hughes (Westwood, Mass.) and Tyler Boucher (Haddonfield, N.J.) picked up helpers on the tally.
Sasha Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla.), Boucher and Jack Devine (Glencoe, Ill.) all netted their third goals of the season to extend the U18s lead to 4-0 after 40 minutes.
Pastujov scored after he initially centered a feed for a shot from Andre Gasseau (Garden Grove, Calif.). After a goul-mouth scramble, the puck squirted loose and the University of Notre Dame commit flipped it into the net for a 2-0 lead. Dylan Duke (Strongsville, Ohio) was credited with the secondary helper on the goal.
Boucher followed with the first of back-to-back power-play tallies off a beautiful passing sequence. Caden Brown (St. Louis, Mo.) took a pass at the right wing, went cross-ice to Sean Behrens (Barrington, Ill.) who fed Boucher with a back-door feed for the 3-0 lead.
Devine knotted another on the same double-minor to give Team USA four goals in a row. Defenseman Jacob Martin (Eagle River, Wis.) skated and circled into the offensive zone and fed Ryan St. Louis (Riverside, Conn.) in front of the net. St. Louis' shot was saved but Devine cleaned up the rebound to add on to the lead.
Roman Schmidt (Midland, Mich.) finished the scoring with a bullet from the right point on the power play. Devine and Red Savage (Scottsdale, Ariz.) picked up the helpers on the goal to make it 5-0.
Homer and Mberkeo combined to pitch a 60-minute shutout, splitting the game at the halfway mark.
The win was the third straight for the Under-18 Team to open the 2020-21 season.