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U18s Take Game 1 in Green Bay, 6-3

By USA Hockey's NTDP, 03/03/23, 10:30PM EST


Smith grabs four points in weekend opener, Perreault adds three

ASHWAUBENON, Wis. - Gabe Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill.) scored a pair and added an assist to extend his team lead in points to 96 and Will Smith (Lexington, Mass.) picked up four points as the U.S. National Under-18 Team won the first of two in Green Bay by a 6-3 final over the Gamblers. 

A four-goal first period got started with a Team USA lead as James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) netted a rebound chance for his first goal with the U18s and 27th of the season to put the U.S. up less than five minutes in. Zeev Buium (San Diego, Calif.) pushed the puck to Oliver Moore (Mounds View, Minn.) down the left wing, where he took the initial shot. Kristoffer Eberly got a pad on it but Hagens was first to the rebound for the put-back goal. 

Box Score

Green Bay came back with a pair of their own to grab a lead at 2-1. First, Barrett Hall took a Jimmy Clark pass and his swift shot beat Trey Augustine (South Lyon, Mich.) to put the Gamblers on the board. 

Raimonds Vitolins gave them the lead after he finished a pretty tic-tac-toe passing display after Green Bay forced a U.S. defensive-zone turnover.

The U18 power play afforded Gabe Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill.) the opportunity to tie the game once more just past the midway mark of the period. Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) took a firm wrister and the rebound popped out to Will Smith (Lexington, Mass.) at the right point. He went back-door to Perreault who had an empty net to shoot at for his 41st score of the year. 

Clark and Vitolins combined to restore a one-goal lead for Green Bay 4:40 into the middle period. Clark faked shot before sliding the puck over to Vitolins who chipped in his second of the night. 

Team USA pulled back to even after Danny Nelson (Maple Grove, Minn.) jammed a puck home off a goalmouth scramble. Carter Slaggert (South Bend, Ind.) and Aleix Weiermair (Los Angeles, Calif.) helped out to give the game its fourth tie at 3-3. 

Buium was the beneficiary of some puck luck to put the U18s on top at 2:14 of the third period. Off of passes from Smith and Perreault, the defenseman's shot bounced around in front of the cage before hitting the netting for his third score of the season.

Smith used a great outlet pass to spring Perreault on a breakaway a few minutes later. The BC-commit put his shot through the five-hole of Eberly for the first two-goal lead of the night. 

With 3:36 to play, Smith winged a shot from deep in his own territory that found the empty net for a 6-3 final.

Augustine finished the night with 31 saves as he extended his impressive record to 19-0-2 on the campaign.

The two sides will get ready for a rematch tomorrow night with another 8:00 p.m. ET puck drop at the Resch Center. 

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