MUSKEGON, Mich. – The U.S. National Under-17 Team bounced back from Friday's loss against the Muskegon Lumberjacks, skating to a 5-4 shootout win Saturday night at Mercy Health Arena to split the series.
After going down 2-0 early in Friday's game, the U17s stormed out to a two-goal advantage of their own in the first period Saturday, taking a 1-0 lead 2:40 in off the stick of Cruz Lucius (Grant, Minn.). Ryan Chesley (Mahtomedi, Minn.) saucered a diagonal feed to an open Lucius at the offensive blue line, who beat a Muskegon defender and fired a laser past Lumberjacks goaltender Jan Skorpik to give Team USA the lead.
At the 12:31 mark of the period, Seamus Casey (Estero, Fla.) collected a clearing attempt and skated through a pair of Muskegon defenders and fired a wrister from the right circle to make it a 2-0 game at the first intermission.
Muskegon's Danil Gushchin pulled the Lumberjacks within a goal 6:59 into the middle frame but Frank Nazar III (Mt. Clemens, Mich.) regained a two-goal advantage when he picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and put home a backhander to give the U.S. a 3-1 lead.
Despite and even-matched second period that featured several excellent chances for the U17s, the Lumberjacks scored a pair of back-to-back tallies to knot that game at 3-3 heading into the third frame.
Cooley crashed the crease and tapped a loose puck past Skorpik to once again regain the lead, but the Lumberjacks had an answer with just over three minutes remaining in regulation to tie the game.
After a scoreless overtime period, Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.) and Rutger McGroarty (Lincoln, Neb.) each converted in the penalty shootout and Dylan Silverstein (Calabasas, Calif.) stopped Cameron Berg's final shot to lift the U.S.
Silverstein made 33 saves in goal to help Team USA to a series split.
The U17s return to the ice Friday at USA Hockey Arena when they host the Green Bay Gamblers in a two-game set. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. ET and tickets are available by visiting usahockeyntdp.com/tix or by calling 734-453-6400 x 396.