ITHACA, N.Y. - Logan Cooley (Pittsburgh, Pa.) scored his sixth goal in the past five games and Dylan Silverstein (Calabasas, Calif.) made a season-high 40 saves, but the U.S. National Under-18 Team dropped its game to the Cornell Big Red, 4-2, Saturday evening at Lynah Rink in New York.
It took most of the first period of play before Seamus Casey (Fort Myers, Fla.) broke the goalless streak with 71 seconds to play in the frame. Charlie Leddy (Fairfield, Conn.) went D-to-D to Casey at the blue-line, where he ripped a wrister over the shoulder of a screened Joe Howe. Frank Nazar III (Mount Clemens, Mich.) collected the secondary assist and it was Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.) with the great screen that led to the game's first goal.
Cornell tied the game before the close of the period when Ondrej Psenicka banged home a second-chance opportunity off an odd-man rush with 22 seconds to play in the first.
Cooley restored the Team USA advantage with a power-play goal just past the halfway mark of the game. Lane Hutson (North Barrington, Ill.) fed Cutter Gauthier (Scottsdale, Ariz.) down low on the man advantage. He cycled the puck with Cooley who fired his shot off the far skate of netminder Ian Shane and in for a 2-1 lead.
Cornell responded again to tie the game at 2-2 less than a minute later with a power-play marker of its own off the stick of Matt Stienburg.
Team USA appeared to take its third lead of the evening when Marek Hejduk (Parker, Colo.) made a great individual effort on the penalty kill to steal the puck and smash his slap-shot by Big Red goaltender Nate McDonald. Instead, Hejduk was called for a slash on the play and Cornell went to a 5-on-3 advantage with just over five minutes to play.
Four seconds of game time later off the ensuing draw, Ben Berard gave Cornell its first lead of the night with a one-timer from the top of the right faceoff circle. Berard added another man-advantage marker 18 seconds later to give the Ivy Leaguers a 4-2 lead late in regulation.
Silverstein put on a show in net for Team USA to keep them ahead or tied for the majority of the contest. His 40 saves was an NTDP-high for the season and the most since he made 49 stops against the Green Bay Gamblers on New Year's Eve last season.
The U18s continue their Kroger College Series tomorrow afternoon with a tilt against Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania. Puck drop is slated for 5:00 p.m. in Erie, Pa.