ROMANSHORN, Switzerland – Lucas Van Vliet (Livonia, Mich.) netted the game-winning goal in the third as the U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated Switzerland, 4-2, Saturday afternoon inside EZO Eissportzentrum Oberthurgau in the championship matchup of the U17 Four Nations Tournament.
The U.S. was in control in the opening half of the first period, outshooting Switzerland and upping the pressure. Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) eventually broke through for Team USA with 8:49 left to play in the frame. Brendan McMorrow (Lakeville, Minn.) carried the puck through the neutral zone and across the blue line with Plante trailing. McMorrow dropped it back to Plante who wound up a snapshot and whizzed it past Switzerland's netminder Christian Kirsch. Switzerland looked to tally their first of the game with a lengthy 5-on-3 opportunity, but Team USA's penalty kill came up big to bring the 1-0 lead into the locker room.
Switzerland quickly put themselves on the board, 2:02 into the second, after winger Jordan Forget cleaned up a rebound in front of the crease. However, it wasn't long before Team USA regained their lead as captain Charlie Pardue (Winnetka, Ill.) netted one 2:32 after the Switzerland's first. Kamil Bednarik (Elmhurst, Ill.) skated behind a Swiss defender who had difficulty managing the puck at the blue line. Bednarik skated into the offensive zone and muscled his way past another Swiss defender and send a backhand pass from the goal line to Pardue who speedily put it in the back of the net for the final goal of the second, bringing the championship game down to the wire in the final 20.
The U.S. had a little more room to breath after Van Vliet extended the team's lead to a pair of goals early in the third. McMorrow picked up the puck adjacent to Switzerland's goal and sent a backwards pass to Van Vliet who fired it past Kirsch.
Switzerland cut Team USA's lead down to one after a high-flying puck fell onto the tape of Nolan Cattin before he netted his first of the tournament with 6:29 to go.
Switzerland gave one last push and brought it all forward, pulling their goalie with over a minute left, but Plante sealed the deal with an empty-net goal to secure the championship, 4-2.
Jack Parsons (Cortland, N.Y.) started in net for Team USA.
Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) and Cole Hutson (Barrington, Ill.) led the team with six points each, while Eiserman led in goals scored with four and Hutson ranked first amongst Team USA with four assists