PLYMOUTH, Mich. - The U.S. National Under-18 Team scored the final three goals of regulation to earn a point in an eventual 5-4 shootout loss to the Chicago Steel Friday evening at USA Hockey Arena.
Austin Burnevik (Blaine, Minn.) scored a pair in the final period, including the game-tying goal with 6:32 remaining in regulation, to push the game into extra time.
Chicago raced out to a 2-0 lead as the Steel netted both goals in the opening frame. Less than five minutes in, Michael Emerson found himself behind the defense and put his wrister over the glove of Trey Augustine (South Lyon, Mich.) to open scoring. Nearly 10 minutes later, Grayden Silpec finished a 2-on-1 rush to give the visitors a two-goal lead.
The U18s applied pressure throughout the final five minutes of the period, including a trio of high-danger scoring chances, but could not convert. Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) teed up a one-timer on the power play but was denied by Jack Stark. Danny Nelson (Maple Grove, Minn.) and Salvatore Guzzo (Old Tappan, N.J.) both had chances from the slot in the final minute, but Team USA could not light the lamp as they held a 12-9 shot advantage in the opening 20 minutes.
Chicago used a power-play goal from Mick Thompson at 6:24 of the middle frame to increase their lead to 3-0.
The U18s responded late in the period to cut the deficit back to two after 40 minutes of play. Carter Slaggert (South Bend, Ind.) dug the puck out in the defensive zone and pushed the play ahead for Guzzo to enter the zone. He sent it to Alex Weiermair (Los Angeles, Calif.) stationed behind the goal line, where he banked his shot off of Stark and into the net to put Team USA on the board.
An odd turn of events early in the third period ended with a 4-1 Chicago lead. After Ryan Fine (Center Moriches, N.Y.) put one off the post at one end, the Steel quickly turned the puck around into their offensive zone. Brady Arneson put a shot on net that Augustine blockered up and over, but the puck caromed off the boards, back into the crease and was pushed past the goal line for Chicago.
Team USA started the comeback with Burnevik's first of the evening and fourth of the season. The St. Cloud State commit grabbed the loose puck after a Chicago turnover and used a great deke to finish off the backhand and cut the lead to 4-2.
Leonard collected his 20th of the season after he found the back of the net off a goal-mouth scramble. Will Smith (Lexington, Mass.) took the initial shot from the right point and the puck sat in the crease. Beckett Hendrickson (Minnetonka, Minn.) drew it back to Leonard who ripped it in to make it a one-goal game.
Team USA tied it up right off of an offensive-zone draw. Oliver Moore (Mounds View, Minn.) won it to Burnevik who wasted no time before he fired in from the right circle for his second of the evening to tie the game.
After the game went to the overtime session, both teams had high-quality chances on net, but neither side could end the game.
In the shootout, Chicago netted three of four opportunities to collect the extra point.
Augustine finished the night with 38 saves, his second-highest output on the season.
The U18s are right back at it as they host Utica University tomorrow evening for the annual Teddy Bear Toss at USA Hockey Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 p.m. ET and tickets are available by calling the box office at 734-453-8400 or clicking here.