MUSKEGON, Mich. - The U.S. National Under-18 Team netted four third-period goals, but fell to the Muskegon Lumberjacks, 6-4 at Mercy Health Arena.
Ty Murchison (Corona, Calif.) put Team USA on the board less than a minute into the game. Logan Cooley (West Mifflin, Pa.) forced a turnover in the Muskegon zone, picked the puck and found a streaking Murchison who wristed home his seventh goal of the season.
Chaz Lucius (Grant, Minn.) made it a 4-2 game when he led a 2-on-1 with Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.), faked a cross-crease pass and roofed a shot for his 13th goal in 11 games.
After Muskegon got one goal back, Sasha Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla.) kept charging with a tremendous individual effort play and pretty backhand finish. Pastujov took in a pass from Howard at the red-line, drove down the right wing and flicked a quick backhand shot over the shoulder of the netminder to make it 5-3.
The 'Jacks scored next, but Red Savage (Scottsdale, Ariz.) made it a two-goal contest once more when he knocked home a rebound during 4-on-4 action. Lane Hutson (Barrington, Ill.) fed Jeremy Wilmer (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) for a shot on from the left circle. The initial attempt was saved but Savage found the puck for his 15th score.
After neither side could find the back of the net in the game's first 20 minutes, Muskegon put in four goals in the middle frame before Murchison scored for Team USA to kick off the third.
The 'Jacks Dylan Wendt had an empty-netter for the 7-4 final.
The two teams will cap their three-game set tomorrow evening in Plymouth. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. from USA Hockey Arena. Tickets to the game are available by calling the box office at 734-453-6400 or visiting USAHockeyNTDP.com/tix.