PLYMOUTH, Mich. - The U.S. National Under-18 Team fought back to earn a point, but fell to the Muskegon Lumberjacks, 5-4 in a shootout, Wednesday evening at USA Hockey Arena.
The Lumberjacks jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period of play, but Team USA answered with three in the middle frame. Logan Cooley (West Mifflin, Pa.) got on the board less than three minutes in with a quick wrister while charging the net. Ty Gallagher (Clarkston, Mich.) sent a long feed to Dylan Duke (Strongsville, Ohio), who left a drop-pass for Cooley at the blue line. Cooley collected and fired for his 20th goal of the campaign.
Muskegon answered to restore its two-goal lead but the U18s fought back to tie it up after 40 minutes. Jack Devine (Glencoe, Ill.) connected at the end of a man advantage when he found a loose puck after a scramble and flipped his shot in to make it a 3-2 game. Red Savage (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.) picked up helpers on the goal.
Rutger McGroarty (Lincoln, Neb.) tied the game with 30 seconds to play in the second when he slid a nice backhand shot over the glove of Nathan Reid. Charlie Stramel (Rosemount, Minn.) picked off a Lumberjacks pass and ran the 2-on-1 with McGroarty. He sauced a pass to McGroarty after entering the offensive zone, where the University of Notre Dame commit connected on his 19th score of the season.
The Under-18 Team took a lead off the blade of Chaz Lucius (Grant, Minn.) when he potted his 12th goal in 10 games this season at the midway mark of the third. Gallagher kept a clearing attempt in the Team USA offensive zone and caught the 'Jacks going off ice. He fired a pass to Howard who went cross-crease to Lucius for the 4-3 lead.
Jack Williams evened up the game with a power-play goal for Muskegon to push the game to overtime. Team USA earned the point but the Lumberjacks tallied the only goals in the shootout to take the win.
The two teams play twice more this week, Friday night in Muskegon before returning to USA Hockey Arena on Saturday evening. Tickets for Saturday's game are available at USAHockeyNTDP.com/tix or by calling the box office at 734-453-6400.