Photo by Rena Laverty
MUSKEGON, Mich. – The U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated the Lumberjacks, 7-3, Saturday night inside Trinity Health Arena. Team USA was led by Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.) who tallied two goals along with Noah Lapointe (Hinsdale, Ill.) who dished out three assists.
Muskegon got on the board first in less than three minutes as Ethan Fredericks sped past the Team USA’s defense and backhanded one into the back of the net.
The U.S. tied things up though to make it square after the first 20. Kristian Epperson (Mequon, Wis.) sped into the offensive zone, fighting off a Muskegon defender, and found Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) trailing who finished it off on a knee.
Team USA put themselves in front early, :21 seconds into the period, off the stick of Brendan McMorrow (Lakeville, Minn.). James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) won the offensive zone draw and snapped it back to Cole Hutson (Barrington, Ill.). Hutson dangled around a few Lumberjacks and put one on net for a rebound opportunity that McMorrow buried.
Muskegon tied thing up Jake Richard into the period after tic-tac-toe passing which found Ethan Whitcomb in the slot for the goal.
Team USA regained the lead minutes later on the power play off another rebound chance. With the extra skater, Team USA opened up the ice with passing back-and-forth. The puck made its way to Humphreys who tee’d up a one-timer that was to heavy for Muskegon’s starting netminder Raythan Robbins to corral. Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass.) was in the crease waiting for the rebound and tapped in the goal. However, Muskegon’s Michael Callow made it even once again with a shot from the slot.
Just like the period before, Team USA went back up a goal after Austin Baker (White Lake, Mich.) was on the end of a Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) pass and found room for a breakaway opportunity and found twine. The U.S. added an insurance goal past the midway part of the third as Lapointe shot on from the blue line and Ziemer tipped it in front of the net for the score.
Hutson and Ziemer added an empty netter to put the game out of reach for Muskegon and secure the 7–3 win.
Jack Parsons (Cortland, N.Y.) started in net for Team USA and stopped 27 shots.
Team USA opens up the new year with a road series at Youngstown, Jan. 6 and 7, with puck drop slated for 7:00 p.m. ET. All action can be stream lived on FloHockeyTV.