MIDDLETON, Wis. - The U.S. National Under-18 Team used six third-period goals, including Cole Eiserman's 50th of the season, to skate past the Madison Capitols by an 8-5 final Friday night at Bob Suter's Capitol Ice Arena.
With the score, Eiserman became the sixth player became only the sixth NTDP player to score 50 goals in a season, and just the third to accomplish the feat in a U17 season.
The home team got on the board first as Matt McGroarty redirected a point shot through the legs of Carsen Musser (Sherburn, Minn.) to give the Capitols a power-play goal eight minutes into the game.
The U.S. responded with a pair of goals before the break to take a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes. Will Vote (Arlington, Mass.) put the U18s on the board with a second-chance score just short of the halfway mark. The first shot came from Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) at the left circle. The rebound bounced around off Beckett Hendrickson's (Minnetonka, Minn.) and to Vote who dug it out for his 14th score of the year.
Team USA took the lead from a sharp James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) shot racing down the right wing. Ryan Fine (Center Moriches, N.Y.) fed Eiserman who picked up speed and shifted it over to Hagens on the wing. He chose shot and sent a perfect shot over the glove of Mason Kucenski to give the U18s the advantage.
McGroarty added his second of the night, again on the power play, as he slammed home a rebound to tie the game with 3:30 to play in the second period.
Teaam USA retook the lead just 42 seconds into the final frame on a man advantage goal from Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass.). Will Smith (Lexington, Mass.) pushed the puck to Gabe Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill.) into the offensive zone. Leonard received his pass between the circles and fired his shot in to make it a 3-2 game.
A minute later, Danny Nelson (Maple Grove, Minn.) used a spinning wrister to beat Kucenski for his 15th score of the season. Hagens worked him the puck to give the Long Island native a multi-point night.
Salvatore Guzzo (Old Tappan, N.J.) was first to the rebound off a Will Vote (Arlington, Mass.) shot and he tapped into the open net to extend the U.S. lead to 5-2 at 2:53.
After Madison got one goal back, Eiserman responded with his 50th of the season. Off of feeds from Hagens and Aram Minnetian (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.), Eiserman ripped a wicked wrister from the right circle to become the sixth overall player at the NTDP to hit the 50-goal mark, the third to do it in a U17 season.
Fine extended the lead with a tremendous one-touch shot off a sacuer pass from Beckett Hendrickson (Minnetonka, Minn.) for Team USA's fifth goal in less than six minutes.
Hagens posted another to make it 8-3 for the U18s with a quick snap shot from the left circle. Oliver Moore (Mounds View, Minn.) and Paul Fischer (River Forest, Ill.) assisted to give the underager his ninth multi-goal effort of the year.
Madison managed the last two goals of regulation to force the 8-5 final for the Under-18 Team's seventh consecutive win.
Musser finished the night with 24 saves to earn his 13th win of the season.
The two sides will square off again tomorrow night to finish the weekend series. Puck drop is slated for 8:00 p.m. ET from Bob Suter's Capitol Ice Arena.