Photo by Rena Laverty
PLYMOUTH, Mich. — The U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated the Muskegon Lumberjacks, 5-4, Friday night at USA Hockey Arena. Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass.) tallied two goals and an assist, John Whipple (Minnetonka, Minn.) netted his first of the year and Cole Hutson (Barrington, Ill.) notched the game winner in the comeback victory.
Team USA opened up scoring as Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.) scored from the crease on a rebound off the boards. Kamil Bednarik (Elmhurst, Ill.) won the offensive zone faceoff before Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) blasted a shot that banked behind the net and fell to Ziemer's stick to make things 1-0, 7:25 into the game.
Three minutes later, Stiga doubled Team USA’s lead, tapping in a shot from linemate Austin Baker (White Lake, Mich.). Baker skated the puck in and took a wrist shot that Muskegon netminder Conor Callaghan couldn’t track, opening the door for Stiga to connect on the shot and solidify the U17s lead, 2-0.
Muskegon tallied first in the second period to cut Team USA’s lead in half, but the U17s quickly answered to regain their two-goal edge. Whipple crossed the blue line and took a pass from Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and sent a powerful wrist shot from the slot to beat Callaghan on the right side, good for his first tally of the year.
The Lumberjacks struck back with three unanswered goals in 5:34 minutes, putting themselves ahead by a goal and making the game 4-3 going into the third period.
Stiga tied things up at four goals apiece on his second goal of the game with 13:30 left to go in the contest. Baker got the puck to Stiga at center ice, who brought it into the offensive zone and ripped a shot away that quickly saw the back of the net.
Hutson made it 5-4 after taking a pass from Lucas Van Vliet (Livonia, Mich.), dangling the puck around Muskegon forward Justin Solovey and getting a shot past a cluster in front of the net. Huston’s goal rounded out the scoring, propelling the U17s to a 5-4 victory.
Jack Parsons (Cortland, N.Y.) made 22 saves, while Team USA tallied a total of 38 shots on net.
The Under-17 Team will return to USA Hockey Arena next Friday and Sunday (Jan. 27 & 29), with tilts against Dubuque followed by the Steel. Next weekend’s games can be streamed free on USA Hockey TV. For tickets, visit the USA Hockey Arena box office, call 734-453-8400 or click here.