Photo by C A Hill Photo
CANTON, N.Y. - Shane Vansaghi (St. Louis, Mo.) collected his first career NTDP hat-trick and added a fourth score late in regulation to help the U.S. National Under-18 Team to an 8-4 win over the St. Lawrence Saints Friday night at Appleton Arena. The win was the Under-18 Team's ninth consecutive victory.
The collegian Saints got off to a 2-0 start to open the game. St. Lawrence took advantage of a two-minute, 5-on-3 power play to score first as Felikss Gavars sniped one home from the left circle. Greg Lapointe made it a pair after he was the recipient of a nice low-to-high passing sequence near the midway mark of the first.
Team USA got on the board late in the first after an impressive defensive play from Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.). He picked off a Saints pass in the defensive zone, crashed to the puck and sent a beautiful pass to Kamil Bednarik (Chicago, Ill.) in the slot. He one-touched it to Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) who sent it into the empty net to cut the lead in half.
At 4:19 of the second, Gavers netted his second man-up goal of the evening, this time converting from the right circle to give the Saints a two-goal lead again.
The answer came from Eiserman on the power play, stationed in his office at the right circle for a one-timer. Logan Hensler (Woodbury, Minn.) and James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) set up Eiserman's 26th score of the season.
After Logan Ritchie made it 4-2 with a quick snapshot, Vansaghi brought the U18s back to within a score before the close of the second period. He intercepted a Saints defensive-zone pass, drove to the net and popped his shot in the top corner to make it a one-goal game once more.
Less than five minutes into the third, Vansaghi made it a multi-goal game, his first of the season, to bring the score back to even. He took a Sam Laurila (Moorhead, Minn.) pass down the left wing, broke towards center ice and deposited his wrister in the back of the net.
Vansaghi completed his hat-trick with a power-play marker at 7:36 of the third. Austin Baker (White Lake, Mich.) won an offensive-zone draw back to Laurila at the right point. He went cross-crease for Vansaghi stationed on the back-door for his first career NTDP hat-trick and the first Team USA lead of the night.
Charlie Pardue (Winnetka, Ill.) provided some insurance for the U18s after he took a ridiculous saucer pass from Noah Lapointe (Hinsdale, Ill.) and used a pretty move to finish on the backhand to make it 6-4. Laurila picked up the secondary helper for his first career three-point game.
Hagens added an empty-netter and Vansaghi put in his fourth of the night on a late power play for the 8-4 final.
Jack Parsons (Ithaca, N.Y.) manned the net for the U18s in his home state as he picked up his seventh win of the season.
The U18s look to extend their winning streak to double digits tomorrow night as they complete their weekend roadtrip against the Clarkson Golden Knights. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. tomorrow evening from Cheel Arena; the game will be streamed on ESPN+.