Photo by Rena Laverty
PLYMOUTH, Mich. – The U.S. National Under-17 Team fell to the Lumberjacks, 9-6, Friday night inside USA Hockey Arena. Team USA's Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) netted his 30th goal of the season, while four U.S. skaters recorded multi-point nights.
The U.S. quickly made work of the scoreboard after Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass.) buried his fourth of the year. Kristian Epperson (Mequon, Wis.) found Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) across the ice in the offensive zone. Humphreys put it on net as Muskegon's netminder Conor Callaghan made a stretch save but Stiga came to the crease to bury the loose puck, 2:02 in.
Shortly after, exactly 1:13 later, Austin Baker (White Lake, Mich.) blasted a shot top shelf from the face-off dot after a quick feed from Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) behind the goal line.
The Lumberjacks got on the board after Ethan Whitcomb cleaned up a rebound and then tied things up shorthanded after Nicholas Rexine put one through. Muskegon kept it going in the first to take the lead after a centering pass deflected off a Team USA stick and went in the back of net.
Eiserman was speedy in the second period and generated a shorthanded breakaway in the opening minute of the frame. After a quick move, he found his spot and put one through to tie the game at three.
The U.S. once again found themselves in front, 4-3, with halfway to go in the second. On the power play, Kamil Bednarik (Elmhurst, Ill.) was waiting in front of the crease before Baker sauced the puck over to him and he put it off the pipe and in.
However, Muskegon netted a pair of goals a minute apart shortly after to put themselves ahead after 40 by a score of 5-4.
Muskegon increased their lead to a pair in the opening two minutes of the third after Jake Richard put away a breakaway. Muskegon's Sacha Boisvert increased the lead to three with his second of the night with under 15:00 to play. Charlie Pardue (Winnetka, Ill.) cut Team USA's deficit back to a pair after he sped around the Lumberjacks back line of defense and finished off a pass from Bednarik with 13:56 to play.
Muskegon answered back with another pair to make it 9-5 prior to Humphreys netting the final goal of the game for the 9-6 final.
Nick Kempf (Morton Grove, Ill.) started in net for Team USA and stopped 20 shots.
The Under-17 Team will finish out 2022 with the back half of a home-and-home series at Muskegon with puck drop slated for 6:00 p.m. ET.