DUBUQUE, Iowa - Frank Nazar (Mount Clemens, Mich.) scored a pair of goals to help the lead the U.S. National Under-18 Team to a 6-5 win over the Dubuque Fighting Saints Saturday night at Mystique Community Ice Arena.
For the second straight, Dubuque jumped out to a lead with a goal from Max Burkholder, but the rest of the period was all Team USA. Nazar tied the game with a snipe from the right circle. Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.) possessed the puck in the offensive zone and sent a pass to Howard from the left wing which he fired in to make it 1-1. Lane Hutson (North Barrington, Ill.) took the puck out of the D-zone to collect the secondary helper.
Cole Spicer (Grand Forks, N.D.) gave Team USA the lead with a score at 8:15 of the first. After Spicer won the draw, Oliver Moore (Mounds View, Minn.) gained possession along the boards and found Spicer in the slot. He collected the pass and fired for a 2-1 lead.
Nazar added his second of the period on a scrum in front, his 15th goal of the season. Ryan Chesley (Mahtomedi, Minn.) carried the puck into the offensive zone and found Nazar running the left wing. He attempted to center a pass that went off a Dubuque defender and into the net for a 3-1 USA advantage. Seamus Powell (Marcellus, N.Y.) collected the secondary helper on the goal.
USA captain Rutger McGroarty (Lincoln, Neb.) made it four in a row for the visitors when he potted a rebound chance with less than two minutes to play in the first. Aram Minnetian (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) took the initial shot and Jimmy Snuggerud (Chaska, Minn.) got a piece of the rebound before it squirted out to McGroarty, who tapped in for a 4-1 lead.
Dubuque's Stephen Halliday, the USHL's leading scorer, netted the first goal fo the second to bring the Fighting Saints back to a two-goal deficit.
Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) restored the three-goal lead with a frozen rope from the right wing. Powell found Spicer entering the offensive zone, who dropped a pass for Leonard. The Boston College-commit made no mistake, rifling his shot past Paxton Geisel for a 5-2 USA lead.
Connor Kurth added his 18th goal of the season before the end of the second period and Kenny Connors scored to start the third to bring Dubuque within a goal at 5-4. Tristian Lemyre scored halfway through the period to bring the score even at 5-5.
USA's Cutter Gauthier (Scottsdale, Ariz.) used his elite wrist-shot release to give the U18s another advantage at 12:04 of the third. Ryan Chesley (Mahtomedi, Minn.) kept the puck in the zone and send the rubber along the boards to Nazar. He dropped a pass for Gauthier at the left circle where he ripped his 20th goal of the season for the final lead the U18s would need.
Dylan Silverstein (Calabasas, Calif.) went the distance in net to pick up his eighth win of the season.
The U18s are back in action next Friday night at USA Hockey Arena as they host the Green Bay Gamblers. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. in Michigan.