JANESVILLE, Wis. – The U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated the Janesville Jets, 7-3, Friday evening at Janesville Ice Arena. Team USA was led by forward Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) who potted two goals each in the second and third periods, along with one in the first, to complete a five-goal night.
It was all Team USA in the first period as it opened up the initial 20 minutes with a trio of goals. The U17s drew an early penalty before Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) led a quick offensive push shortly into the period. Eiserman picked up the puck in the neutral zone and fed it to Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) on the wing while driving towards the net. Plante found Eiserman on the doorstep who tapped in the first goal of the season.
The Newburyport, Mass. native wasn’t done scoring in the first as he potted his second of the game around the eight-minute mark. Plante was in on the action again as he battled with the puck in the corner and squeezed it out to Kamil Bednarik (Elmhurst, Ill.). Bednarik made a quick pass to Eiserman who teed up a shot from the faceoff dot and beat Janesville goaltender, Selby Warren.
Humphreys got in on the action for his first of the season with under four minutes to play, with help from defenseman John Whipple (Minnetonka, Minn.). Whipple made a nice move at the blue line and skated around the Jets front line. He blasted a shot that was too much for Warren to handle and the puck popped off his pads, right to Humphreys, who tapped it in for the 3-0 lead.
Humphreys kept the puck rolling quickly into the second, skating with the puck into the offensive zone. He sent a cross-ice pass to Sam Laurila (Moorhead, Minn.) who quickly sent it back across the ice to Humphreys, where he took a no-angler and found twine.
eThe Jets answered back with one of their own after a dish from the goal line found the tape of Jacob Roberson who put Janesville on the board.
The natural hat trick was completed by Humphreys halfway through the second after he picked up a puck off the boards in the neutral zone. He turned the burners on and sped passed the Jets defense and picked the top corner to make it 5-1 after two periods.
Humphreys continued to make his presence on the ice known in the third as he found the back of the net for his fourth. Lucas Van Vliet (Livonia, Mich.) forced an offensive-zone turnover as the puck found the stick of Humphreys behind the net, before he skated around and sent it top shelf.
The Jets answered with another to cut the U.S. lead to four, but it was Humphreys once again with his fifth of the night to regain the five-goal lead.
Scoring continued to go back-and-forth as the Jets generated an opportunity and got one back to make it a 7-3 game.
In the opening 30 minutes of action, Jack Parsons (Cortland, N.Y.) stopped 13 of 14 shots faced while Nick Kempf (Morton Grove, Ill.) played the other 30 minutes and stopped 32 of 34 shots.
The Under-17 Team is back in action tomorrow at Janesville to close out the weekend season against the Jets. Puck drop is set for 4:00 pm ET and can be streamed live on HockeyTV.