PLYMOUTH, Mich. - Despite outshooting the Green Bay Gamblers by a 31-26 margin, the U.S. National Under-18 Team fell Friday evening at USA Hockey Arena by a 6-3 final.
The U18s got out to an early 1-0 lead off a screen shot from Jimmy Snuggerud (Chaska, Minn.) at 3:33 of the first period. Charlie Leddy (Fairfield, Conn.) went D-to-D with Tyler Duke (Strongsville, Ohio), who took a tour of the offensive zone behind the net. He found Snuggerud at the right point who floated his shot over the shoulder of Aaron Randazzo for his 16th score of the season.
The Gamblers responded with a pair of goals, the first from Ryan Greene on a third-chance opportunity to even the game just past the halfway mark of the period. John Mittelstadt gave Green Bay the lead going into the break when he netted his seventh of the season with 17 seconds to play in the period.
Cam Lund charged down the slot and poked a shot by Tyler Muszelik (Long Valley, N.J.) to give the visitors a 3-1 lead 7:32 into the middle frame. Carter Batchelder netted a shorthanded tally on a chip-shot deep in the zone to make it a 4-1 game with 2:31 to play in the second.
The U18s stopped the Gamblers' run with a give-and-go play between Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.) and Frank Nazar (Mount Clemens, Mich.). After giving Nazar a pass, Howard darted toward the back-door of the net and got enough of a shot off the return pass to draw the score back to 4-2.
Logan Cooley (Pittsburgh, Pa.) pulled the U18s within a goal when he followed up his own shot on the power play and connected on a second chance at the 10:25 mark of the third. Nazar and Howard picked up helpers on the score.
Green Bay answered that with a goal less than a minute later and Alex Servagno added an empty-netter for a 6-3 final.
The U18s are off the rest of the weekend before the majority of the team will skate in the 2022 BioSteel All-American Game Monday afternoon at USA Hockey Arena. The U18s will return to action as a team for a Friday night contest against the Lake Superior State Lakers as they begin to round out their Kroger College Series.