Photo by Rena Laverty
Team USA wasted little time as they opened the game's scoring at 5:16 on a Fondrk breakaway. Easton Pace (Chesterfield, Mich.) forced a neutral-zone turnover and pitched the puck up to a darting Fondrk. He went forehand-backhand-top-shelf for the finish and a 1-0 U17 lead.
Green Bay earned the equalizer on a power-play score from Landen Gunderson, but the U17s answered back 45 seconds later on a tap-in marker from Hafele. Garrett Lindberg (Moorhead, Minn.) deflected a Gamblers pass which spurred LJ Mooney (West Mifflin, Pa.) up the right wing. He drew the defender on a 2-on-1 and slid a perfect back-door pass for Hafele to make it a 2-1 contest.
Green Bay tied it up for the second time before the close of the opening frame. Jayson Shaugabay drove the right lane and dropped a nifty pass to Lev Katzin, who fired five-hole past Joey Slavick (Westland, Mich.) to tie the game at two apiece.
The Gamblers took their first lead of the night halfway through the middle period on a nice redirection in front. Garin Ludwig took the initial shot from the point and Blake Bechen got a stick on it for a 3-1 Green Bay lead.
The visitors grabbed the game's first two-goal lead 93 seconds into the third period. Bechen netted his second of the night after he took a feed from Ben Poitras and outwaited new USA netminder Patrick Quinlan (Kennett Square, Pa.) for a backhand tally.
Green Bay put the game out of reach with a rebound score off the blade of Libor Nemec with 3:03 to play in regulation. Rasmus Larsson took the first shot from the slot which Quinlan turned aside, but Nemec was there for the second chance and a 5-2 score.
Bechen hit an empty net late to complete the hat-trick for a 6-2 final.
Slavick finished his night with 15 saves and Quinlan also turned aside 15 in the second half of the contest for the Under-17 Team.
The U17s will hit the road to finish out the weekend in Youngstown. Puck drop is set for 7:10 p.m. from the Covelli Centre tomorrow night.