Photo by Rena Laverty
PLYMOUTH, Mich. – Team Blue, comprised of players from USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, topped Team White, players from around the USHL, 7-1, tonight in the 2021 BioSteel All-American Game at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich. Sasha Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla./U.S. National Under-18 Team) finished with two goals and one assist to earn Player of the Game honors.
Team Blue netted the first goal just :46 seconds into the opening period for an early 1-0 lead. Red Savage (Scottsdale, Ariz./U.S National Under-18 Team) buried the puck into a yawning net that was set up by Liam Gilmartin (Falls Church, Va./U.S National Under-18 Team) and Ty Gallagher (Clarkston, Mich./U.S National Under-18 Team).
Seven minutes later, Jack Devine (Glencoe, Ill./U.S National Under-18 Team) gave Team Blue a 2-0 advantage when he backhanded the puck past Remington Keopple (Hudson, Wis./Des Moines Buccaneers) from in front of the crease.
Continuing Team Blue's offensive stretch, Roman Schmidt (Midland, Mich./U.S National Under-18 Team) took a shot from the point and Pastujov banked the rebound off the post and then leg of Keopple and into the net.
Team White’s Hank Kempf (Chicago, Ill./Muskegon Lumberjacks) saw a number of opportunities at the start of the second frame, including a hard-driven shot on goal just 3:20 into the period. With 9:21 left in the frame, Colin Purcell (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Youngstown Phantoms) took over in net for Team White. Keopple finished with 11 saves on 14 shots.
In the closing minutes of the period, Rutger McGroarty (Lincoln, Neb./U.S. National Under-17 Team) went top shelf from the right faceoff circle, making it 4-0 for Team Blue.
Team Blue showed persistence during a net-front scramble early in the final period that led to Gilmartin extending the lead to 5-0. The score quickly became 6-0 as Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis./U.S. National Under-17 Team) came across the slot for a wrist shot assisted by Logan Cooley (West Mifflin, Pa./U.S. National Under-17 Team).
Ryan Ufko (Smithtown, N.Y./Chicago Steel) put Team White on the board on a power-play goal 8:13 into the period. Ufko’s rebound shot was set-up by Mackie Samoskevich (Newtown, Conn./Chicago Steel) and Matt Coronato (Huntington, N.Y./Chicago Steel).
Netting his second goal of the night, Pastujov, assisted by Chaz Lucius (Grant, Minn./U.S. National Under-18 Team) and Ethan Straky (Ormond Beach, Fla./ U.S. National Under-18 Team), carried the puck up the left side before sending a wrister toward the net to make it, 7-1, with 6:54 left in the game.
Team Blue netminder Kaidan Mbereko (Aspen, Colo./ U.S. National Under-18 Team) was replaced in net for the third period by Gibson Homer (Grand Rapids, Mich./ U.S. National Under-18 Team). Mbereko finished with 21 saves on 21 shots, while Homer stopped four of five shots. For Team White, Purcell recorded six saves on nine shots.
NOTES: Sasha Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla/U.S. National Under-18 Team was named Player of the Game … Team Blue outshot Team White, 31-27 … The BioSteel All-American Game is a joint effort between USA Hockey, the USHL and NHL. The complete rosters for this year’s game can be found here … To date, 225 alumni of the All-American Game have been drafted in the NHL, highlighted by 46 first-round selections … Previous host sites for what is now called the BioSteel All-American Game include Buffalo, N.Y. (2012, 2014, 2015, 2017), Philadelphia, Pa. (2016), Pittsburgh, Pa. (2013), Plymouth, Mich. (2020) and Saint Paul, Minn. (2018). For more information on the BioSteel All-American Game, click here.