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U18s End Calendar Year With 4-3 OT Loss to North Dakota

By USA Hockey's NTDP, 12/31/22, 7:45PM EST


Perreault, Smith and Leonard all collect three points

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Gabe Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill.), Will Smith (Lexington, Mass.) and Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) all recorded three points, but the U.S. National Under-18 Team fell to the North Dakota Fighting Hawks in overtime by a 4-3 final Saturday evening in their final game of 2022. 

North Dakota hit the scoreboard just 75 seconds into the game to take the game's first lead. Matteo Costantini raced the length of the ice to beat an icing call and centered the puck back to Jake Schmaltz, who chipped his shot over the shoulder of Michael Chambre (Fort Myers, Fla.) for the opening score. 

Riese Gaber doubled the lead for the home team at 3:53 of the period. He took a cross-crease feed and after Chambre denied his first shot with a great toe save, Gaber grabbed the rebound and the second chance was good. 

The U.S. stormed back to grab the next pair and even the game after 20 minutes. Perreault finished off a pretty passing sequence to get Team USA on the board just shy of the halfway mark. Leonard dropped the puck for Smith who made a dot-to-dot pass to Perreault who potted for his 24th goal of the season.

The same trio of forwards tied it up after another pretty U.S. offensive possession after a neutral-zone takeaway. Leonard drove the right lane and centered the puck to a charging Smith. He found Perreault on the left wing where he gave it right back to Smith for a tap-in goal, his 19th of the campaign. 

Near the midway mark of the game, the Fighting Hawks got a tip in front of the net that squeezed through Chambre's pads, but USA defenseman Brady Cleveland (Wausau, Wis.) made a sprawling stick save as the puck sat on the goal line to keep the game tied at 2-2. 

North Dakota did regain the lead with six minutes to play in the second as Cooper Moore converted off a 4-on-2 rush with a shot from the hashes. 

The U18s' top trio earned another score after a hard forecheck to tie the game into the second intermission. Leonard bodied a Hawks defenseman and the puck squirted loose to Smith behind the net. He made a quick pass to Perreault at the left circle, where he one-touched the puck into the top corner for his 25th score of the season and tie the game at 3-3. 

Will Vote (Arlington, Mass.) appeared to give the U.S. its first lead late in regulation,  but the goal was disallowed after a video review and the game went to overtime. 

Matteo Costantini won the game for North Dakota in the extra session with 35 ticks remaining on the clock.

Chambre was sturdy in net and made a season-high 38 saves for the U18s.

After the team's return to Michigan, they will hit the ice again Friday evening at Yost Ice Arena as they travel locally to take on the University of Michigan. 

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