RALSTON, Neb. - Team USA netminder Nick Kempf (Chicago, Ill.) turned aside 23 of 24 shots while Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.) and Charlie Pardue (Winnetka, Ill.) added two points apiece as the U.S. National Under-18 Team earned a weekend sweep with a 5-1 win over the Omaha Lancers.
Team USA got the first grade-A opportunity as Shane Vansaghi (St. Louis, Mo.) found Ziemer for a one-timer alone from the slot, but the puck was gobbled up by Lancers goaltender Mikhail Yegorov.
After a Lancers penalty for delay of game on the ensuing faceoff, Team USA did connect to make the game 1-0 on a power-play score from Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.). Cole Hutson (Chicago, Ill.) took the point shot and Ziemer got a stick on it in front. The puck sat between Yegorov's legs and Plante poked it in for his fourth score of the season.
Team USA used the other special teams unit to go up 2-0 after Ziemer tallied unassisted at 12:34 of the period. After an errant Lancers pass in the offensive zone, Ziemer retrieved the puck and broke out on a 2-on-1 breakout. He toe-dragged around a defender and wired a wrist-shot into the top corner for his fifth multi-point game of the season after he had already extended his team-long point streak to nine straight games.
With 5:36 to play in the first, the Lancers found their opportunity to take advantage of a Team USA mishap, as Drew DellaSalla turned a neutral-zone turnover into a quick score and 2-1 game.
The U18s used great transition offense to return to a two-goal lead just shy of the halfway mark of the game. Logan Hensler (Woodbury, Minn.) laid the puck up the ice for Brendan McMorrow (Lakeville, Minn.) to start the rush. From the right wing, he backhanded a feed for Pardue, who connected from the slot to give him scores in both games this weekend.
Lucas Van Vliet (Livonia, Mich.) put goal number four on the board with a long-distance redirection from the left faceoff circle. James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) worked the puck to Noah Lapointe (Hinsdale, Ill.) for the initial shot that Van Vliet got a stick on to make it 4-1 after 40 minutes.
Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass.) added a power-play marker with three seconds to play in regulation for the 5-1 final.
Kempf was sturdy in net as he extended his phenomenal record to 9-1-0 on the campaign.
The U18s return to their Kroger College Series next weekend with a weekend trip to Upstate New York. They take on the St. Lawrence Saints night Friday night; puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. ET from Appleton Arena in Canton, N.Y.