Photo by Rosenau Photography/Madison Capitols
MIDDLETON, Wis. - Gabe Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill.) collected his first career NTDP hat-trick, and added a fourth score for good measure, as the U.S. National Under-18 Team blew by the Madison Capitols by a 6-2 final Thursday evening in Wisconsin. Will Smith (Lexington, Mass.) added a season-high five points, all assists, in the U18s' win.
After it looked like the game might go the opening 20 minutes without a score, the U.S. netted twice in 16 seconds late in the opening frame to take a 2-0 lead after the first. Perreault broke the ice with his team-leading 27th score of the season with less than 90 seconds on the clock. Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) picked up a loose puck in the defensive zone and fed Smith with a stretch pass down the center of the ice. He drew the goaltender to one side of the crease and dropped a pass to Perreault who banged it in for the 1-0 lead.
Moments later, Team USA doubled its lead as Salvatore Guzzo (Old Tappan, N.J.) connected on a quick forehand shot from the slot. Ryan Fine (Center Moriches, N.Y.) won a neutral-zone faceoff and the puck bounced around and to Beckett Hendrickson (Minnetonka, Minn.), who fed Guzzo in alone for the breakaway tally.
USA netminder Michael Chambre (Fort Myers, Fla.) stood tall in net as he turned aside all 13 shots he saw in the opening frame.
The U18s took a whole lot less time to find the back of the net in the second period as Perreault got his second of the night just 28 seconds in. Brady Cleveland (Wausau, Wis.) chipped the puck off the boards to lead Smith in for a breakaway. His shot was stopped but Perreault was first to the rebound for the put-back and 3-0 lead.
The visitors made it four in a row after Kai Janviriya (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) fired in off an odd-man rush. Perreault stole the puck from a Caps skater and found Smith down ice. He ran what looked to be a 2-on-2 break, before he dropped a pass to the trailing defenseman who netted his fourth marker of the season.
Perreault completed the hat-trick with a power-play goal just past the halfway mark of the game. Smith took the initial shot that got jammed up in front but the rebound squirted out to Perreault in the slot. He collected and fired far-side for his first career three-goal game at the NTDP. Zeev Buium (San Diego, Calif.), running the point on the man-up, collected the secondary helper.
Madison's Jack Musa put the Capitols on the board directly off a faceoff win with 5:46 remaining in the second and Matt McGroarty added a power-play goal to make it a 5-2 game after 40 minutes.
Perreault finished a breakaway attempt on the backhand with 5:39 to play in the game for his fourth score of the night and the 6-2 final. Smith and Aram Minnetian (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) assisted on the last goal of the game.
Chambre finished the evening with 29 saves as he earned his fifth win of the season.
The U18s are back in action tomorrow night as they return to their Kroger College Series against the Wisconsin Badgers. Puck drop is set for 8:00 p.m. ET from the Kohl Center in Madison.