Photo by Rena Laverty
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The U.S. National Under-17 Team put up a good fight, but dropped, 7-3, to the Youngstown Phantoms on Saturday night.
In back-to-back matchups between these two teams, the first goal of the game was scored in the opening minute of the period. Tonight, the Phantoms took advantage of an early rush for a goal by Kyle Bettens.
Shortly after, Youngstown extended their lead to 3-0 on two goals from Brandon Svoboda and Jaden Grant just 22 seconds apart.
Team USA had their chances in the first period that were led by Gabe Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Carter Slaggert (South Bend, Ind.), both with close-range opportunities.
Before the period came to a close, the Phantoms would tally another goal courtesy of Braiden Clark. Just the same, they would open the middle frame with a goal recorded by Justin Stupka.
Danny Nelson (Maple Grove, Minn.) continued to create lanes for open shots throughout the period. On the defensive end, the duo of Paul Fischer (River Forest, Ill.) and Aram Minnetian (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) made several stops to Youngstown’s advances.
The Under-17 Team took control to begin the final period of the game. With under three minutes off the clock, Gracyn Sawchyn (Chaska, Minn.) put a shot on goal that Salvatore Guzzo (Old Tappan, N.J.) cleaned up to put Team USA on the board.
Less than a minute later, Zach Schulz (South Lyon, Mich.) cleared the puck from the defensive zone where Nelson made an attempt to score. Nelson’s shot was denied but bounced out for Sawchyn who poked it past the skate of Youngstown’s netminder Jacob Fowler.
The game quickly made a turn late in the third period after a scrap between the two teams. From the faceoff in the defensive zone, Sawchyn connected with Perreault who poked his way through the crease for a two-goal game.
Despite the late run by Team USA, the Phantoms added two more goals by Adam Ingram and Grant Porter to secure the 7-3 win.