Photo by Rena Laverty
After both goalies combined to stop the first 15 shots of the game, Fargo connected late in the period on the power play to take a lead into the first intermission. Tate Taylor and Leo Gruba played catch at the top of the zone before Gruba wound up for a one-timer to put the Force on the board.
Team USA drew the game back to even after McKinney fired in off a 2-on-1 rush. Lincoln Kuehne (West Fargo, N.D.) bumped the puck up to Will Horcoff (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) at the blue line. He one-touched it to a charging McKinney, who hesitated by the defender and flipped a shot over the shoulder of Hampton Slukynsky to make it a 1-1 contest.
The U17s pulled in front with less than five minutes to play in the period after O'Neill banked home a second-chance opportunity off the back of Slukynsky. Will Moore (Ithaca, N.Y.) found Asher Barnett (Wilmette, Ill.) for the initial shot from the right point that was turned aside, but O'Neill was in position to make it 2-1.
With 8:14 to play in regulation, Fargo returned the score to even with their second power-play marker of the night. Iiro Hakkarainen jammed at the puck in front, but Harrison Boettiger (Wheat Ridge, Colo.) kicked it aside with the left pad. Lee Parks was on top of the rebound and punched it home to tie the game at two goals apiece.
Each side was awarded opportunities during the remainder of the third period, but neither team could convert as the game moved to overtime.
Fargo had the lone shot on net in the overtime period as the game was decided in the shootout.
Mac Swanson netted the lone attempt out of six shooters as Fargo earned the extra standings point.
Joey Slavick (Westland, Mich.) started the game for Team USA and made 14 stops on 15 shots in the first half of the game. Boettiger finished with 27 saves in relief.
The U17s return to the ice next Friday night as they take the quick trip to Ohio for a matchup with the Youngstown Phantoms. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Covelli Centre and the game can be streamed on Flo Hockey.