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U18s Come From Behind To Top North Dakota in OT, 4-3

By USA Hockey's NTDP, 12/30/23, 9:30PM EST


Hutson wins game with overtime tally

Photo by North Dakota Athletics (Russell Hons)

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Cole Hutson (Chicago, Ill.) scored 2:35 into overtime as the U.S. National Under-18 Team erased a two-goal deficit to come from behind and beat the North Dakota Fighting Hawks by a 4-3 final Saturday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena. 

In the 3-on-3 session, Hutson took the puck at the point, skated towards the left faceoff dot and painted a perfect wrister bar-in to give the U18s their third win over a Division I opponent this season. 

The home side got out in front early with the game's only goal of the opening frame. On the power play, Jackson Blake ripped a quick writer far-side from the top of the left circle that beat a very screened Nick Kempf (Chicago, Ill.) to put North Dakota up 1-0 at 3:50.

The Fighting Hawks doubled up on their lead less than three minutes into the second period as Logan Britt was credited with the score. He centered a feed that went off the skate of USA defenseman Will Skahan (Woodbury, Minn.) and through the five-hole of Kempf. 

The Under-18 Team got on the board a little shy of the halfway mark with an absolute rocket of a shot from James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.). Hagens forced a North Dakota defensive-zone turnover, was first to the puck and launched a bar-down missile from the right circle for his 14th score of the season. 

The U18s drew it back to even with 2:37 to play in the period as Lucas Van Vliet (Livonia, Mich.) stationed himself in front of the cage and redirected a Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) centering attempt. Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) picked up the secondary helper on Van Vliet's 11th marker of the year. 

Team USA made it three in a row early in the third to take their first lead of the night. Kamil Bednarik (Chicago, Ill.) gained possession behind the UND net, wheeled around in front and stuffed a backhand attempt through the legs of Hobie Hedquist for a 3-2 advantage. Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) and Hutson picked up the helpers on the go-ahead goal. 

North Dakota's Hunter Joahnnes even the game at the midpoint mark of the third as he raced down the left wing and potted one over the shoulder of Kempf to bring the score to 3-3, where it remained for the rest of regulation. 

In the extra session, Eiserman had a pair of grade-A chances that forced some impressive stops from Hedquist before Hutson buried the winner for Team USA. 

Kempf was solid in net all night for the U18s, finishing the game with 36 saves as he managed his 11th win of the campaign.

The Under-18 Team returns to the ice Monday afternoon as they pay a visit to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Puck drop is slated for 3:00 p.m. ET from 3M Arena at Mariucci. 

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