ROMANSHORN, Switzerland – The U.S. National Under-17 Team fell to Switzerland, 6-3, Tuesday afternoon inside EZO Eissportzentrum Oberthurgau in their sole pre-tournament game ahead of the U17 Four Nations Tournament.
Team USA started the game quick and took a lead minutes into the frame. Off the draw, Lucas Van Vliet (Livonia, Mich.) snapped it back to Dakoda Rheaume-Mullen (Northville, Mich.) who sent it along the blue line to Logan Hensler (Woodbury, Minn.). Hensler sent it through traffic where Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) got his stick on it for a redirect.
Ten minutes went by before Switzerland had their first good look on net but U.S. starting netminder Nick Kempf (Morton Grove, Ill.) sprawled out to keep his team in the lead. Switzerland did get on the board late in the first as their power play was expiring, knotting things up heading into the locker room.
Switzerland added a pair in the first four minutes of the second, including one shorthanded goal, to put the U.S. down, 3-1. Another tally from Switzerland in the second extended their lead to three.
Team USA cut their deficit to a pair with 8:19 left in the second off the blade of James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.). Defenseman EJ Emery (Compton, Calif.) collected the puck at the blue line and sent a cross-ice pass to Noah Lapointe (Hinsdale, Ill.). Lapointe wound up a shot on net and generated a rebound opportunity as the puck was brought around onto Hagens stick for the goal. Switzerland regained the three-goal lead, however, adding their fifth with under a minute to go.
The U.S., once again, cut their deficit to two with 5:03 left in the final period. Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass) steamed up ice with the puck and found Sam Laurila (Moorhead, Minn.) who went wide around a Swiss defenseman. Laurila sent it towards the net where a streaking Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was at the crease to tap in the puck. The U.S. comeback came up short, as Switzerland tallied another to make the 6-3 final.
Kempf started in net for Team USA.
The Under-17 Team opens up round robin play at the U17 Four Nations Tournament Thursday (Dec. 15) against Sweden at 8:00 a.m. ET. Thursday’s game can be streamed free here along with live stats available here.