Cranberry Township, Pa. – The U.S. National Under-18 Team defeated the Waterloo Black Hawks, 3-2, Sunday afternoon inside the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in its USHL Fall Classic closer. Gabe Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill.) was on the score sheet for all three U18 goals, with one goal and two assists, and Kai Janviriya (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) potted the game-winner at the 13:11 mark in the third.
It was a quiet first period for Team USA as the Black Hawks held the team to just a handful of shots. Starting U.S. netminder Trey Augustine (South Lyon, Mich.) was tested heavily in the first twenty and faced 12 shots but turned them all aside to go into intermission scoreless.
Will Smith (Lexington, Mass.) nearly netted the first goal of the game by either side with 13:25 left to go. Smith skated through the Black Hawk defense to create a breakaway opportunity and attempted a backhand shot, but Black Hawks starting goaltender Emmett Croteau smothered it up. Smith did, however, beat Croteau nearly six minutes later on the power play. Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) skated the puck across the blue line where Perreault picked it up as sent it cross-ice to Smith. A quick shot beat Croteau to break the stalemate and put the U.S. up one.
Smith's goal turned on the offense for the U18s as it potted another power play goal less than two minutes later. Some magnificent passing was seen between Smith and Zeev Buium (San Diego, Calif.) in the offensive zone to open up the ice. Perreault was waiting at the doorstep where Smith gave him the dish and finished it off to put Team USA up a pair.
The Black Hawks responded with one of its own with 3:37 to go after Griffin Erdman received a pass at the top of the crease and tapped it in for the score.
Janviriya added an insurance goal with just under seven minutes to go in the third. After an offensive zone faceoff win from Smith, Perreault got the puck and sent it to Janviriya who sent a blast on goal from the blue line and across the goal line. The goal was needed as the Black Hawks answered on the power play with its second goal from Gavin Lindberg 1:50 after Team USA's tally.
After a Black Hawk timeout with over a minute to go, Waterloo gave one last push with its net empty but the U18s held strong to come away with the win.
Augustine started in net for Team USA and stopped 33 shots to pick up his second win of the season.
The Under-18 Team continues on the road next weekend with NCAA matchups against Michigan State and Notre Dame starting Saturday, Oct. 1.