GREEN BAY, Wis. – Despite falling behind early in the first period, the U.S. National Under-17 Team rallied to defeat the Green Bay Gamblers, 3-2, Friday night at the Resch Center. Marek Hejduk (Parker, Colo.) scored the game-winner late in the third period to lift the U.S.
The U.S. had several quality scoring chances in the opening frame, but could not find the back of the net, and Gamblers forward Kyler Grundy scored to give the home team a 1-0 advantage heading into the first intermission.
Netminder Dylan Silverstein (Calabasas, Calif.) made 12 stops in the opening frame.
The U.S. responded in the opening moments of the second period when Rutger McGroarty (Lincoln, Neb.) collected a loose puck in the defensive end and skated up the ice on a 2-on-1 with Cruz Lucius (Grant, Minn.) After drawing out the defender, McGroarty slotted the puck across the mouth of the Green Bay goal to Lucius who fired the feed past netminder Matt Davis to tie the game at a goal apiece.
Logan Cooley (West Mifflin, Pa.) broke the tie for the U.S. when he backhanded another feed from McGroarty past Davis to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead with four minutes remaining in the middle frame. The goal gave Cooley his team-leading sixth tally of the season.
Green Bay's VanSickle scored to knot the game up midway through the third period, but Hejduk collected a pass from Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.) in the neutral zone and skated the puck all the way to the crease where he backhanded the game-winner past netminder Jed Baliotti to give the U.S. a 3-2 victory.
Silverstein made 37 saves to earn the win in the net.