YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Five different skaters tallied goals against the Youngstown Phantoms but the U.S. National Under-17 Team could not stymie the Youngstown offense, falling 7-6 in a see-saw battle in the first of a three-in-three series Thursday evening at the Covelli Centre.
The Phantoms took a 1-0 lead 5:03 into the first period off the stick of Cole Burtch, but Maddox Fleming (Rochester, Minn.) netted his ninth goal of the season after pickpocketing a Youngstown skater and firing the puck past Phantoms goalie Kyle Chauvette on the breakaway to tie the game.
Youngstown forward Riley Duran scored with nine seconds remaining in the frame to give the Phantoms a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
The U17s had a productive period in the middle frame, enjoying a three-goal scoring run off the sticks of Mikey DeAngelo (Itasca, Ill.), Cruz Lucius (Grant, Minn.) and Frank Nazar III (Mount Clemens, Mich.).
The U.S. capitalized on a pair of bounces as Nazar put away a rebound past Chauvette to tie the game at 2-2 46 seconds into the period. DeAngelo gave the U.S. its first lead of the night moments later, poke-checking a puck free and slotting the puck in for the score.
Lucius rounded out the scoring in the period with a goal on a 2-on-1 breakaway to make it a 4-2 game.
The Phantoms rallied late in the period, scoring twice to tie the game once again heading into the third period.
Fleming scored his second goal of the night on the power play to tie the game up once again, and Devin Kaplan (Bridgewater, N.J.) tallied a power-play goal of his own to give the U.S. a 6-5 lead, but the Phantoms responded once again to force overtime with a 6-6 tie.
Georgii Merkulov scored 1:21 minutes into overtime to give the Phantoms the 7-6 win.
Tyler Muszelik (Long Valley, N.J.) stopped 26 shots in the loss.
Team USA returns to the ice Friday for game two of the three-game series against the Phantoms. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET and the game can be viewed live on HockeyTV.com.