Photo by Rena Laverty
PLYMOUTH, Mich. - The U.S National Under-17 Team closed out the series with the Green Bay Gamblers Saturday night with a 5-4 loss inside USA Hockey Arena. James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) got the U17s within one goal at 7:52 in the third period, but the team was not able to find the back of the net for the remainder of the contest.
Team USA opened up scoring :44 seconds into the game as Shane Vansaghi (St. Louis, Mo.) connected with Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) centering down the offensive zone. Eiserman wristed a shot over the Gambler's netminder, Adam Gajan, giving the U17s an early 1-0 lead.
Green Bay was quick to strike back, netting a pair of goals 3:12 apart to give them a 2-1 lead over Team USA half way through the first period. Raimonds Vitolins tallied on the power play while Barrett Hall netted an unassisted goal.
The U17s were able to tie the game up with a goal from Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass.) coming at 16:03 in the first period. Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.), with a behind the back pass, found Stiga for a quick shot to light the lamp.
At 8:18 in the second period, Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.) dished the puck in the neutral zone to Kamil Bednarik (Elmhurst, Ill.) who skated it to the left point to get a shot past Gajan. Bednarik’s goal provided Team USA with a one-goal lead over the Gamblers.
The Gamblers tied the game once more with a goal coming :33 seconds following the Team USA goal. It was followed up with two more goals, both from Mykhailo Danylov, making it a 5-3 game after 40.
The third period concluded with a single goal by Hagens to put the U17s within a goal. The assist was granted to Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) as he battled for the puck in front of the net, finding Hagens to the right for the goal. The U.S. gave one final push with their net empty for the final minute, but the comeback bid fell short as the U17s fell, 5-4.
Nick Kempf (Morton Grove, Ill.) started in net and finished the night with 19 saves for Team USA.
The Under-17 Team return to USA Hockey Arena Friday (Jan. 20) for a solo home game against Muskegon at 7:00 p.m. ET. Friday's game can be streamed free on USA Hockey TV. For tickets, visit the USA Hockey Arena box office, call 734-453-8400 or click here.