PLYMOUTH, Mich. - The U.S. National Under-18 Team got scores from Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) and Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.), but could not work its way past Youngstown as the Phantoms prevailed by a 4-2 final Saturday night at the Mitchel Kiefer Memorial Rink at USA Hockey Arena.
The game was Team USA's sixth annual Play With Purpose charity hockey game, to help raise awareness against the dangers of distracted driving and to recognize, remember and honor the seventh anniversary of Mitchel's death due to a distracted driver.
Team USA got on the board first courtesy of Eiserman's 70th career goal at the NTDP. Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) forced a Youngstown defensive-zone turnover, found the puck behind the cage and centered it for Eiserman in front for a 1-0 lead at 6:44 of the first.
Youngstown returned the game to even with less than five minutes to play in the opening frame. Finn McLaughlin connected on a far-side wrister from the top of the right circle that got over the shoulder of goaltender Jack Parsons (Ithaca, N.Y.).
The Under-18 Team collected the lone goal of the middle 20 minutes as Ziemer earned great body position in front of the cage and netted a put-back goal. Eiserman took the initial shot off an original feed from James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.), before Ziemer put Team USA back on top past the midway mark of the second.
The Phantoms didn't waste much time in the third period, finding another game-tying goal just 2:45 into the frame. Brandon Svoboda batted a puck out of mid-air to the game at 2-2.
Less than five minutes later, Youngstown took its first lead of the evening. Artyom Shchipanov found the puck out of a scramble and deposited his shot by a screened Parsons for a 3-2 Phantoms advantage.
Adam Pietila iced the game with an empty-net score with 1:07 to play in regulation.
The U18s return to the ice next weekend to compete in the USHL Fall Classic in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. Team USA will square off with Dubuque Saturday (Sept. 23) afternoon at 2:30 p.m. before playing in the final game of the weekend event Sunday (Sept. 24) afternoon against Omaha.