CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Frank Nazar III (Mount Clemens, Mich.) tallied his fourth and fifth goals of the season as the U.S. National Under-18 Team earned a point in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Fargo Force Sunday afternoon at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Pennsylvania.
Team USA wasted absolutely no time getting on the board, going up 1-0 before Fargo had a chance to touch the puck. After winning the opening draw, the U.S. worked the puck around to Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.) racing down the left wing. He snuck in behind the defense and put a nifty deke on Force goalie Anton Castro before finishing five-hole for his first goal of the season. Defenseman Tyler Duke (Strongsville, Ohio) and Seamus Casey (Fort Myers, Fla.) picked up helpers on the opening goal.
Nazar added a pair of goals before the close of the opening frame, first making it 2-0 off a feed from Jimmy Snuggerud (Chaska, Minn.). Snuggerud took a pass from Casey and entered the offensive zone down the right wing. A stride inside, he fired the puck to Nazar racing down the left wing, where he collected, took one stride toward the center of the ice and flicked his wrister by Castro for his fourth score of the young season.
Nazar netted his second of the afternoon on a power play just 1:45 later. Snuggerud held the puck along the left wing and went cross-ice to Howard for a one-timer. Castro made the first save but Nazar was on the doorstep to clean up the rebound chance for a 3-0 USA advantage.
Fargo got on the board with a shorthanded marker from Eric Bargholtz, but Team USA's Marek Hejduk (Parker, Colo.) responded with a goal 18 seconds later. Brady Berard (East Greenwich, R.I.) started the nice display when he found a loose puck and cycled it below the net to Maddox Fleming (Rochester, Minn.). Fleming turned and found Hejduk at the left shot who fired his shot over the glove-side shoulder of Castro for a 4-1 lead.
The Force pushed back to make it a 4-3 game after 40 minutes of play with two power-play goals late in the period. Cole Knuble, who suited up for Team USA during the 2020-21 season, grabbed a puck after a blocked shot and fired home for his first score of the season.
Jake Braccini cut the deficit to one when he wound up for a one-timer from the right faceoff circle on a 4-on-3 advantage with 34 seconds remaining in the second period.
Fargo's Felikss Gavars tied the game at four goals apiece when he converted on an attempt from right outside the crease just over two minutes into the final frame.
The Force earned the extra point when Tyson Gross scored on a nice hesitation move in front of the cage at 1:53 of overtime.
Team USA's Tyler Muszelik (Long Valley, N.J.) finished with a season-high 33 saves in net.
The U18s return home to take on the Michigan State Spartans Saturday night at USA Hockey Arena. Tickets are available at USAHockeyNTDP.com/tix or by calling the USA Hockey Arena box office at 734-453-6400.