Photo by Rena Laverty
GENEVA, Ill. – The U.S. National Under-17 Team fell to the Steel, 8-5, Saturday night inside Fox Valley Ice Arena. Team USA was led by Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.), who led the team with two goals, and Logan Hensler (Woodbury, Minn.) who potted his first goal of the season. James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) finished with three assists.
Eiserman opened up the scoring for Team USA to secure point 70 on the year along with goal number 41. In their own defensive zone, Hagens banked the puck off the boards as Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) quickly corralled it and push it towards the neutral zone for Eiserman. The forward collected the puck and used his speed to split two Steel defenseman and generate a breakaway where he put it past Chicago's netminder Christian Manz.
Almost two minutes later, the Steel tied things up after Jayden Perron went around the defense and found Macklin Celebrini at the doorstep for the tie.
The U.S. didn't look back though as Eiserman grabbed his second of the period to put Team USA on top after 20. A Steel penalty with 4:16 to go brought on the power play unit for the U17s. Hagens won the opening draw and flicked it back to Cole Hutson (Barrington, Ill.) who quickly gave it right back to Hagens. With the open ice, Hagens put it through to Eiserman at the crease and fired the puck into the back of the net.
The Steel tied things up 3:33 into the second after Brady Arneson’s shot banked off behind the net and angled its way to Anthony Dowd who tapped it in.
The U.S. regained their lead near the midway point, which started off with Shane Vansaghi (St. Louis, Mo.) battling along the boards in the neutral zone. He spun around and found Hensler going towards the offensive zone with ample amounts of space to work with, followed by a blast into the back of the net for his first goal of the year.
Team USA increased their lead to a pair at the 11:08 mark which started and ended with Kamil Bednarik (Elmhurst, Ill.). The center muscled around the zone and controlled the puck before he dished it to Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.). Ziemer made a backhand pass off the boards to Hutson who wound up a shot that redirected off Bednarik’s stick in front of the net for the goal.
The Steel were awarded a penalty shot with 6:02 left to play in the second to try and close Team USA’s lead to one, but starting U.S. netminder Jack Parsons (Cortland, N.Y.) sprawled out for the save.
Celebrini picked up his second and third of the night, :27 seconds apart, to tie the game at four. The Steel tallied once more before the period ended, this time off the stick of Quinn Finley, to put Team USA down one with one period to go.
Celebrini picked up his fourth, along with his fifth, in the third to put the Steel up 7-4 with 8:47 to play.
Team USA got one back moments after Chicago’s goal to put the teams deficit back to two. Hagens possessed the puck along the goal line and fed Kristian Epperson (Mequon, Wis.) in the slot who fell to a knee while grabbing the goal.
The Steel put on in with Team USA's net empty in the final minutes to make it the 8-5 final.
Parsons started in net for Team USA and stopped 30 shots.
The Under-17 Team will finish out their weekend road series tomorrow against the Steel at 4:00 p.m. ET. Tomorrow’s game can be streamed live on FloHockeyTV.