Photo by Rena Laverty
ROMANSHORN, Switzerland – Twelve U.S. players recorded at least a point, led by James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) who totaled five, en route to a U.S. National Under-17 Team victory over Slovakia, 9-1, Friday afternoon inside EZO Eissportzentrum Oberthurgau at the U17 Four Nations Tournament.
Team USA replicated their start yesterday and quickly jumped ahead with the lead. Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) rang it along the boards as Dakoda Rheaume-Mullen (Northville, Mich.) halted it at the blue line. Rheaume-Mullen sent it on net for a Hagens redirect which was saved initially, but Hagens kept with it for the second-chance goal.
Nearly over 2:30 later, the U.S. went up a pair following an offensive-zone draw won by Hagens who snapped it back to Eiserman before he ripped a shot past Slovakian starting netminder Richard Rafaj. Slovakia cut the lead down to a goal two minutes later when Miroslav Satan netted a power-play goal from the slot.
The U.S. regained their two-goal lead in the final minute of the period and matched Slovakia's power-play tally with one of their own. Team USA opened up the ice with the extra skater as Hagens fed it to Cole Hutson (Barrington, Ill.) at the point. Hutson gave it right back to Hagens and found Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.) in front to bury his first of the tournament.
Just like in the opening period, Shane Vansaghi (St. Louis, Mo.) tallied a speedy goal to open up the frame. Fifty seconds in, Vansaghi was left unaccounted for on the wing which Hutson noticed and sauced it cross-ice to the forward for the goal.
Hagens netted his second of the game to put the U.S. up 5-1 with halfway to go in the second. After he wrangled a loose puck following a shot, he skated around the goal and somehow found a window from the goal line and squeaked in the puck. One more goal highlighted the second to give the U.S. a five-goal lead after 40. Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass.) collected a mishandled puck from Slovakia which generated a two-on-one with Austin Baker (White Lake, Mich.) by his side. The puck made its way to Baker who had an open net to work with and converted for the goal.
Team USA added another pair of goals in the opening ten minutes of the final period, as Hutson was left all alone in front to notch his second of the tournament, followed by another connection from Hagens to Eiserman for his second of the game. Charlie Pardue (Winnetka, Ill.) netted the final goal of the game on the power play to make it the 9-1 final.
Nick Kempf (Morton Grove, Ill.) started in net for Team USA and stopped 17 shots.
The Under-17 Team closes out the U17 Four Nations Tournament tomorrow (Dec. 17) against host Switzerland at 8:30 a.m. ET with a chance to win the tournament. Saturday’s game can be streamed free here along with live stats available here.