Photo by Rena Laverty
PLYMOUTH, Mich. – The U.S. National Under-17 Team took a thrilling 5-4 win in overtime against the Fighting Saints Friday night inside USA Hockey Arena. James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) netted his second overtime game winner against Dubuque which was also his second tally of the game.
Team USA nearly jumped to an early lead as Kamil Badnarik (Elmhurst, Ill.) rang a shot off the post and swatted at his own rebound, but Dubuque’s starting netminder Marcus Brannman denied the chance.
The U17s did get on the board moments later at the 15:31 mark as Hagens potted his 23rd of the year. Tic-tac-toe passing was well executed on the play as Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) dished it to Lucas Van Vliet (Livonia, Mich.) in the face-off circle with Hagens on the opposing wing. A quick pass left an open net for Hagens to bury the first of the game.
Only 1:42 went by before Team USA doubled their lead off the tape of Bednarik. The puck trickled onto the stick of Dakoda Rheaume-Mullen (Northville, Mich.) after a broken offensive-zone play and sent it to EJ Emery (Compton, Calif.) at the point. Emery fired a shot into traffic where Bednarik redirected it into the back of the net.
Dubuque's James Reeder put the Fighting Saints on the board in the second period at the 7:01 mark. However, Charlie Pardue (Winnetka, Ill.) quickly regained the two-goal lead for Team USA after he snapped a shot past Brannman. Kristian Epperson (Mequon, Wis.) muscled his way with the puck around the Fighting Saints defense and found an open Pardue for the goal.
Dubuque charged right back, :26 seconds later, as Max Montes finished a breakaway opportunity following a U.S. turnover.
The theme of the second period continued with each team trading goals as Epperson tallied his ninth goal of the season. Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.) connected with Epperson skating into the zone as he dashed towards the net and flipped it into the back of the net with 5:22 to go.
Dubuque broke through once more in the third after a loose puck in front of the net found the back of the net. In the closing minutes, Dubuque tallied one more to make it a tie game with 4:25 to play in the period. Just like their last outing, Sixty minutes wasn't enough to decide the game so it went to overtime.
The theme was replicated once again as Hagens netted the overtime game-winning goal 1:13 into extra time as he potted the game winner in overtime in the last time these two teams played. Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) picked up the puck in the offensive zone and passed it over to Hagens who tee'd up a one-timer and sent the game-winning goal into the back of the net.
Nick Kempf (Morton Grove, Ill.) started in net for Team USA and stopped 19 shots.
The Under-17 Team will finish out their weekend of games Sunday at USA Hockey Arena against the Chicago Steel at 4:00 p.m. ET. The Under-18 Team wraps up Team USA's series against Dubuque tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. ET at home. Both 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.