Photo by Rena Laverty
PLYMOUTH, Mich. – The U.S. National Under-17 team dropped the first game of a weekend series, 6-3, against the Green Bay Gamblers at USA Hockey Arena on Friday night. Logan Hensler (Woodbury, Minn.) led the team with two assists, while Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Lucas Van Vliet (Livonia, Mich.) and Kamil Bednarik (Elmhurst, Ill.) each scored for Team USA.
Team USA opened the scoring and didn’t waste any time doing it. Austin Baker (White Lake, Mich.) took a pass along the boards and worked it up to Charlie Cerrato (Fallston, Md.) at the blue line. Cerrato found Humphreys with a back-hand pass that sent him in on a breakaway to give the U17s a 1-0 lead :39 seconds into the first period.
Green Bay answered with a pair of power-play goals by Raimonds Vitolins and Matt DiMarsico to take over the first period lead.
Team USA evened the game late in the period on Van Vliet’s 12th goal of the season. The forward took a pass from linemate Shane Vansaghi (St. Louis, Mo.), used his speed to evade the Gamblers forecheck, and made a couple nice moves around a Green Bay defensemen and beat Gamblers netminder Kristoffer Eberly to make it 2-2.
The Gamblers regained the lead early in the second period on a rebound goal from Jayden Davis.
The U17s battled back once again and tied the game on the power play at 7:52. Brendan McMorrow (Lakeville, Minn.) got the puck up to Hensler at the point. Henlser walked the line and dished it to Kamil Bednarik (Elmhurst, Ill.) who ripped a shot through traffic and into the back of the net for his 20th of the season.
Jayson Shaugabay sent Green Bay back in front with a power-play goal from Austin Oravetz and the Gamblers took a 4-3 lead into the second intermission.
Green Bay extended their lead in the third period with goals from Vitolins, his second goal of the game, and Barrett Hall to make it a 6-3 final.
Nick Kempf (Morton Grove, Ill.) started between the pipes for Team USA and made 18 saves.