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U18s Top Steel in Kids Day Game, 8-5

By USA Hockey's NTDP, 12/13/23, 12:45PM EST


Plante nets pair of goals in USA win

Photo by Rena Laverty

PLYMOUTH, Mich. - Behind four second-period scores, the U.S. National Under-18 Team defeated the Chicago Steel in the annual Kids Day game, 8-5, Wednesday morning at USA Hockey Arena. 

The visiting Steel got on the board first as Kolin Sisson found the back of the net just 72 seconds in, but the Under-18 Team responded back with three straight to get the crowd of over 3,000 roaring. 

Box Score


The U18s responded less than half a minute later after Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Kamil Bednarik (Chicago, Ill.) went give-and-go, with Humphreys tapping in the goal at 18:29. Noah Lapointe (Hinsdale, Ill.) started the play to pick up the secondary helper, his third point over the last four games. 

Team USA tacked on two shorthanded goals in the span of 90 seconds. Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass.) knocked the puck from a Chicago defender's stick and tucked it past the goalie from the right circle to give the U18s a 2-1 lead.

Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) then extended the lead with another shorthanded goal at 16:17. After Cole Hutson (Chicago, Ill.) intercepted a breakout pass, he found Plante who fired from the hashes and past netminder Christian Manz's shoulder to go up 3-1.

Chicago was able to stop the run with a goal of their own by Owen Tylec at 4:29 after a rebound to make it 3-2 after the opening frame.

Chicago opened the middle frame with a pair of scores to take a quick 4-3 lead, courtesy of Ben Yurchuk and Tobias Ohman, but the U18s responded with four unanswered goals to end the period up 7-4.

Plante got in alone on a breakaway and fired from the left circle for his second goal of the morning to even the score just 13 seconds after Chicago took their only lead of the game. 

After Shane Vansaghi (St. Louis, Mo.) made a nice defensive effort, Brendan McMorrow (Lakeville, Minn.) and Austin Baker (White Lake, Mich.) ran a 2-on-1 which ended with Baker's shot deflecting off a Steel defender and in for his eighth goal of the season and a 5-4 lead. 

After a four-goal performance last weekend at St. Lawrence, Vansaghi added another to the ledger as he sniped a shot from the left hashes after another Chicago defensive-zone turnover. 

After a pair of USA defensemen thwarted a Steel attack, Kristian Epperson (Mequon, Wis.) raced down the ice  and finished to put the U18s up three scores with two minutes to play in the period. 

Chicago's Michael Hage scored a shorthanded goal at 4:24 of the third period to cut the U.S. lead back to two. 

USA's James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) ended the game's scoring with a power-play marker with just under five minutes to play in regulation. He was set up by Hutson and Logan Hensler (Woodbury, Minn.) on the man advantage. 

U18 netminder Nick Kempf (Chicago, Ill.) finished with 18 saves as he picked up his 10th win of the season.

The U18s return to the ice Friday night as they begin a home-and-home set with the Youngstown Phantoms in Ohio. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. from Covelli Centre and the game will stream live on HockeyTV. 

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