PLYMOUTH, Mich. – Despite by a hat trick performance from Cutter Gauthier (Scottsdale, Ariz.), the U.S. National Under-17 Team fell to Green Bay, 5-4, in the opener of a two-game series between the two teams Friday night at USA Hockey Arena.
The night marked Gauthier's ninth multi-point showing of the season.
Green Bay opened up the scoring when Alex Servagno found his way through the defense and snuck a shot over the glove of Tyler Muszelik (Long Valley, N.J.) to give the Gamblers a 1-0 lead.
Ryan Chesley (Mahtomedi, Minn.) evened the score moments later, collecting a pass from Mikey DeAngelo (Itasca, Ill.) in the center of the zone and rocketing a shot past Gamblers netminder Anthony Randazzo to make it a 1-1 contest.
Gauthier tipped the game in the U17s' favor in the middle frame, tallying two goals to give the U.S. a 3-1 lead with 17:19 to play in the period.
The 6-2 center collected the puck in the defensive zone and carried it up the right boards before cutting in and slotting a shot between the legs of Randazzo for the score.
Moments later, Gauthier picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and beat three Green Bay defensemen before firing a wide-angle shot past Randazzo to make it a 3-1 game.
Green Bay's Damien Carfagna found the back of the net with 16 seconds to play in the middle frame, and Gamblers center Jake Schmaltz scored early in the third period to knot the game up, but Gauthier rounded out his hat trick performance with another wide-angle shot to give the U.S. a 4-3 lead.
Despite Gauthier's performance, the Gamblers tied the game once again and Victor Mancini tallied the game-winning goal to steal the win from the U.S.
Muszelik made 33 saves in the loss.
The U17s return to the ice Saturday when they look to split the series against the Gamblers. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. ET and tickets are available at usahockeyntdp.com/tix or by calling 734-453-6400 x396.