LANGLEY, British Columbia – The U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated Canada White, 8-2, Thursday night inside the Langley Events Centre in their preliminary round finale of the 2022 World U-17 Hockey Challenge. The U.S. ended with a perfect 6-0-0-0 record, which earned them a spot in Saturday's gold medal game, and outscored their opponents 39-12.
The U.S. got off to a quick and exciting start, potting three goals in the opening 5:07 and 1:35 apart. Kamil Bednarik (Elmhurst, Ill.) opened the scoring for Team USA, 3:32 in, which started with a Bednarik forced turnover in their offensive zone. He poked the puck away where Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) picked it up and made a touch pass to Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.). Ziemer fed Bednarik speeding towards the slot before he went top shelf for his third of the tournament.
Nineteen seconds later, James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) got in on the action and notched his tournament leading 15th point. Hagens stole the puck along the boards before he controlled it across the goal line. A quick swing route put him all alone dashing across the near face-off dot prior to snapping one past Canada White’s starting netminder David Egorov.
The train kept on rolling as Lucas Van Vliet (Livonia, Mich.) converted on a breakaway chance 5:07 into the frame. From behind the U.S. goal, Dakota Rheaume-Mullen (Northville, Mich.) perfectly banked the puck off the boards which caught Van Vliet all along at center ice. The winger took it in as Egorov made the initial save but gave up the rebound which Van Vliet buried. The U.S. controlled the first 20 and outshot Canada White, 16-7.
Team USA didn't let off the brakes in the second and once again outshot Canada White 18-6. Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) made it a four-goal game 6:28 into the second after he cleaned up a rebound created by linemate Shane Vansaghi (St. Louis, Mo.) who nearly converted on a breakaway. Humphreys went back-to-back with another tuck almost four minutes later to extend the U.S. lead to five. A Vansaghi cross-ice pass was blocked but it bounced its way to the blade of Brendan McMorrow (Lakeville, Minn.) who was trailing. McMorrow made a spinning pass across the ice where Humphreys had an open net to work with.
Canada White converted on a breakaway chance while shorthanded, but it wasn't quick before Team USA answered to regain the five-goal lead. Charlie Pardue (Winnetka, Ill.) picked up a loose puck along the boards in his offensive zone and found Plante along the opposing wing. Plante demonstrated patience to lure the goal towards him as Pardue snuck in back door and was fed from Plante for the score, thirty-two seconds after Canada White netted their first.
Team USA got off on the right foot in the third after Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) picked up a Canada White turnover and fed it to Vansaghi in front for the goal. Canada White came back with one of their own off a rebound chance near the halfway mark of the period to cut the U.S. lead back to five.
Vansaghi wrapped up the scoring for Team USA and went five-hole with his shot to make it the 8-2 final.
Jack Parsons (Cortland, N.Y.) started in net for Team USA and stopped 20 shots for his third win of the tournament.
The Under-17 Team gets Friday off before they skate in the tournaments gold medal game on Saturday (Nov. 12). Puck drop is set for 8:00 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on TSN. A replay of the gold medal game will air on NHL Network on Sunday (Nov. 13) at 9 a.m. ET.