Cole McKinney (Lake Forest, Ill.) struck first with a shorthanded goal on a breakaway. Asher Barnett (Wilmette, Ill.) stole the puck off the stick of a Muskegon forward in the neutral zone and chipped it up the ice to McKinney, who roofed it glove-side past Muskegon goaltender Paxton Geisel just shy of the game's 10-minute mark to take a 1-0 lead.
The Lumberjacks responded just 19 seconds later as Matvei Gridin netted one on the power play, then Whitcomb added a second for Muskegon from the slot with 7:21 left in the opening stanza.
Gridin added a second power-play goal with 4.1 seconds remaining in the period, going short side from the goal line, then Whitcomb picked up his second score of the night 26 seconds into the middle frame, tipping home a rebound on the doorstep to take a 4-1 lead.
Conrad Fondrk (White Bear Lake, Minn.) was the next to score, bringing Team USA within two. Maceo Phillips (Wayzata, Minn.) found Lincoln Kuehne (West Fargo, N.D.) along the right wing in the U.S. zone, who sent a cross-ice pass to Fondrk. Fondrk fired a wicked wrister from the left dot and in with 5:13 left in the second.
Will Moore (Ithaca, N.Y.) added a third to the U.S. tally with a power-play goal. Donny Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) dished the puck to Charlie Trethewey from the point, who got a shot off. Moore picked up the rebound and flipped a quick shot over the shoulder of Geisel with 1:41 left in the period.
Sacha Boisvert regained the Lumberjacks' two-goal lead with a one-timer 4:35 into the final 20, then Ty Henricks tipped home another moments later to bring the final tally to 6-3.
The U17s are back at USA Hockey Arena next Friday, Oct. 27 as they host the Madison Capitols. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. and tickets are available at USAHockeyNTDP.com/tix or by calling the box office at 734-453-8400.