Photo by Rena Laverty
PLYMOUTH, Mich. – The U.S. National Under-17 Team fell to the RoughRiders, 8-2, Saturday night inside USA Hockey Arena for the teams first loss in over a month. James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) and Kamil Bednarik (Elmhurst, Ill.) netted the pair of goals for Team USA.
Cedar Rapids got off to a quick start with the first goal of the game coming 3:39 into the frame. Ryan O'Connell converted off a defensive zone turnover and opened up the scoring. Cedar Rapids netted their second of the frame near the halfway mark as Martins Lavins picked up a turnover and slide it to O'Connell at the crease for his second of the night.
Team USA answered right back, not even a minute later, as Hagens scored his 17th of the year. On the power play, Cole Hutson (Barrington, Ill.) barreled towards center ice before he made a spin pass to Sam Laurila (Moorhead, Minn.). Laurila made a touch pass to Hagens who sped along the wing and fired a shot past Cedar Rapids netminder Bruno Bruveris.
In the final minute of the first, Kristian Epperson (Mequon, Wis.) skated around a RoughRider defender at the blue line. Showing patience, Epperson waited for his shot and fired on towards the net which was too much for Bruveris to handle, giving up a rebound. Bednarik was along the crease to clean up the shot and knot things up heading into intermission.
Cedar Rapids regained the lead in the second after Dylan Hryckowian tapped in a pass in front of the net on the power play. The RoughRiders tallied once more before the period ended as Martins Lavins put one through with :09 seconds to go.
The RoughRiders made way in the third, extending their lead to three off the blade of Eric Pohlkamp. Cedar Rapids went on to score three more in the third to make it the 8-2 final.
Michael Chambre (Fort Myers, Fla.) started in net for Team USA and stopped 25 shots.
The Under-17 Team hits the road next weekend for a weekend series against Youngstown prior to playing host to the Madison Capitols Dec. 2 and 3. For tickets, visit the USA Hockey Arena box office, call 734-453-8400 or click here.