Photo by Rena Laverty
PLYMOUTH, Mich. – The U.S. National Under-17 Team fell to the Capitols, 6-1, Saturday night inside USA Hockey Arena in their final home game until Dec. 30.
Team USA nearly got off to a quick start as Kristian Epperson (Mequon, Wis.) was on the receiving end of a cross crease pass, but Capitols netminder Rastislav Elias stretched out for the save. The Capitols, however, struck first at the 11:02 mark, on the power play, with Miko Matikka getting his 11th on the year. Madison extended their lead to a pair 4:19 later off the tape of Tyler Grahme tapping in a stiff pass from teammate Nick Wallace. The goals continued to come from the Capitols end with a deflection from Jonah Aegerter off an offensive zone draw. Madison controlled the puck offensively in the first 20 with 25 shots on goal.
Madison kept it rolling in the second with a power play goal coming minutes into the frame, coming from winger Jack Musa. A final attack to get one on the board before the period ended was halted as Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) rang up a shot that Elias barely got a piece of to keep it 4-0 after the second.
The Capitols made work off a power play in the opening :30 seconds of the third with Max Nagel netting his third goal of the year. Brendan Lamb converted off a one-timer to make it 6-0 with 12:03 left to play. Team USA ended Elias' shutout bid with 5:52 left to play with Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) grabbing his second goal of the weekend. Cole Hutson (Barrington, Ill.) dashed across the wing and found Humphreys right on the doorstep for the tap-in goal and the 6-1 final.
Nick Kempf (Morton Grove, Ill.) started in net for Team USA and stopped 34 shots. Jack Parsons (Cortland, N.Y.) played the final 20 minutes.
The Under-17 Team travels to the west side of the state for a solo game against Muskegon next Friday (Dec. 9) at 7:00 p.m. ET. Following the USHL matchup, the U17s return to international play in Switzerland at the U17 Four Nations Tournament.