CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The U.S. National Under-17 Team picked up its first USHL win behind three points from James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) to help skate past the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, 6-3, Saturday evening at ImOn Ice.
Team USA opened the scoring with a great individual effort from Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.). The forward was heavy on the forecheck and forced a Cedar Rapids defensive-zone turnover. He found the puck and rifled a wrister short-side past Sam Scopa to give the U17s a 1-0 lead at 12:32.
The U17s doubled up, scoring on a 2-on-1 break less than two minutes later. Hagens picked up the loose rubber in the defensive zone and got up the ice fast with Kristian Epperson (Mequon, Wis.). Epperson entered the attacking zone before dishing back to Hagens, who finished with a forehand-backhand-five-hole finish for his second goal of the campaign.
Cedar Rapids' Eric Pohlkamp got one score back before the close of the first, firing a wrister from the right wing that beat Jack Parsons (Cortland, N.Y.).
Epperson put his name on the scoresheet 2:10 into the middle period with a creative play from behind the net. Hagens shifted the puck to Will Skahan (Woodbury, Minn.) on top of the right faceoff circle. The defenseman dumped it along the boards to Epperson, who collected behind the cage and put a centering feed off a Cedar Rapids defenseman and in for a 3-1 lead.
After the RoughRiders made it a one goal game halfway through the game, Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass.) restored the U17s' two-goal advantage. Skahan found the loose puck in the defensive zone and fed Stiga up the left wing. He got behind the defense and pushed a quick shot under the blocker of Sam Scopa to make it 4-2 after 40 minutes.
Dakoda Rheaume-Mullen (Northville, Mich.) extended the U.S. lead to 5-2 when he fired from the slot for his first goal of the season. Hagens set him up to earn a multi-point night.
Cedar Rapids answered with a goal midway through the third and Hagens added his second of the night on an empty-net with three seconds to play for the 6-3 final.
Parsons made 33 saves to pick up his second win of the season and inaugural USHL victory.
The U17s are off next weekend before hosting the Chicago Steel for a pair of games on October 14-15 at USA Hockey Arena.