RALSTON, Neb. - Kamil Bednarik (Chicago, Ill.) scored twice while Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass.) and Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) added two points apiece as the U.S. National Under-18 Team won its seventh straight game Friday night after they topped the Omaha Lancers 6-2 at Liberty First Credit Union Arena.
Team USA got on the board first as Bednarik scored on the power play 5:19 into the game. Stationed on the left wing, Humphreys sent a back-door feed for a Bednarik redirection and 1-0 U18 lead. Logan Hensler (Woodbury, Minn.) added an assist on the score.
Eighty-five seconds later, the U18s doubled their advantage after a great offensive-zone rush. Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) chipped the puck into the offensive zone and led Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.) on a 2-on-1 rush. The Team USA captain dragged a defender and sent a perfect pass to Kristian Epperson (Mequon, Wis.), who tapped in for a 2-0 game.
Omaha's Jamison Sluys found the back of the net less than a minute into the third period to net the Lancers' Teddy Bear Toss goal as the fans threw down their stuffed animals onto the ice.
The U18s used an aggressive forecheck to land the game's next goal as Charlie Pardue (Winnetka, Ill.) netted on a back-door feed seven minutes into the second. Stiga set it up with a precision pass to earn the lone assist on the 3-1 score.
Sluys brough the home team back within a score with a 8:53 to play in the middle period. He deflected a Noah Jones point shot to bring the game back to one score after 40 minutes.
Stiga took advantage of an Omaha defensive-zone turnover to restore Team USA's two-goal lead. Goaltender Mikahil Yegorev attempted to clear the puck but Stiga cut it down and flipped it into the net for his 15th score of the season.
The U18s earned their fist three-goal lead of the night off a Cole Hutson (Chicago, Ill.) power-play goal just shy of the halfway mark of the third. Off of feeds from James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) and Plante, the defenseman skated the left wing before flipping the puck in front, off a Lancer defender and in to make it 5-2.
Bednarik iced the game with his second of the night as he deposited a backhand shot through the five-hole of Yegorov for the 6-2 final. Humphreys and Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) collected assists to extend the latter's point streak to six straight games.
Jack Parsons (Ithaca, N.Y.) turned aside 14 shots on the evening to pick up his sixth win of the season.
The two sides will go back at it tomorrow night to complete the two-game set. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m . ET from Liberty First Credit Union Arena and the game can be streamed on FloHockey.tv.