NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) scored on a breakaway at 3:04 of overtime to give the U.S. National Under-18 Team a 4-3 win over the Yale Bulldogs and Team USA's second overtime win in two days.
After an errant Bulldogs pass got behind its defense, Leonard raced out alone and grabbed the puck in the neutral zone. He attempted a backhand shot that was stopped but Leonard's second chance bounced up and over goaltender Nathan Reid to give the U18s their 10th NCAA victory of the campaign.
After Carsen Musser (Sherburn, Minn.) stood tall in the opening period and stopped the first 11 shots he saw, the Bulldogs finally beat the U.S. netminder with 4:39 to play in the period. Brandan Tabakin took a shot from the left point that Hayden Rowan deflected in front and into the cage for a 1-0 Yale lead.
The Under-18 Team used a fortunate bounce on the other end to tie the game just over a minute later. Will Vote (Arlington, Mass.) went high-to-low with Oliver Moore (Mounds View, Minn.) and cut to the net for a return pass. Vote tried shifting the puck across the crease but the attempted pass bounced off the Bulldogs defenseman and in to even the score.
With two seconds left in the opening frame, Yale took a lead into intermission as William Dineen threw a puck in front and Kalen Szeto got a stick on it to punch the puck by Musser.
Team USA didn't waste much time in the middle period to bring the game back even. Off of passes from Charlie Cerrato (Fallston, Md.) and Beckett Hendrickson (Minnetonka, Minn.), Ryan Fine (Center Moriches, N.Y.) picked up the puck below the goal line, toured the top of the offensive zone and flicked a wrister that went past a screened Luke Pearson to make it 2-2.
The U18s earned their first lead of the afternoon less than two minutes later on Danny Nelson's (Maple Grove, Minn.) 11th score of the season. On the power play, Hendrickson went from the right circle to Moore at the left circle. He put a puck in front of the net that Nelson tipped in for a 3-2 U.S. lead.
The game found its fourth tie early in the third as Connor Sullivan's shot from the point squeaked its way behind Musser to make it a 3-3 contest that stood until the end of regulation.
Team USA generated a great chance in overtime as Moore found Nelson in front but Reid stepped up to make the save. Shortly after, it was Leonard's turn to play overtime hero and give the Under-18 Team its second win in as many days.
Musser finished the evening with 25 saves to push his record to an impressive 7-2-0 in 11 appearances.
The U18s get next weekend off before returning to home ice to host the Chicago Steel (Dec. 9) and Utica University (Dec. 10). Tickets for those games can be purchased by calling the USA Hockey Arena box office at 734-453-8400.