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U18s Take First of Two in Dubuque in Shootout, 5-4

By USA Hockey's NTDP, 03/29/24, 10:45PM EDT


Hagens, McMorrow, Rheaume-Mullen pitch in a pair of points apiece

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Nick Kempf (Chicago, Ill.) made a USHL season-high 43 saves, plus all three in the shootout and Brendan McMorrow B (Lakeville, Minn.), James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) and Dakoda Rheaume-Mullen (Northville, Mich.) added two points apiece as the U.S. National Under-18 Team defeated the Dubuque Fighting Saints, 5-4 in a shootout Friday night at ImOn Ice. 

USA forward Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) was the lone goal scorer of six attempts to secure the win for the U18s. 

Team USA started off hot with two goals in 19 seconds early in the first period. The first started with a great effort from Hagens, who thwarted a Dubuque clearing attempt, collected and sent the puck to Rheaume-Mullen at the blue line. He went D-to-D for Will Skahan (Woodbury, Minn.), who blasted a one-timer past a screened Kevin Reidler at 3:23. 

After the ensuing face-off, it was Hagens putting his name in the goal column just 19 seconds later. Rheaume-Mullen cleared a puck to Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass.) in the netural zone, who fed Hagens with speed entering the attacking zone. His first shot was denied, but quickly grabbed the rebound and put the second chance in for a quick multi-point evening and 2-0 USA lead. 

Box Score

Team USA netminder Kempf turned in a season-high for saves in a period, making 26 stops in the opening 20 minutes. But it was Dubuque's first shot of the second that got by him as Juraj Pekarcik got position in front to cut the lead in half at 2-1 just over a minute in.

Forty-two seconds later, the U18s regained their two-goal advantage as LJ Mooney (West Mifflin, Pa.) connected on a one-timer in front. He was set up by a sprawling McMorrow, who made a great hustle play to keep the action alive behind the Dubuque cage. 

At 4:40 of the second, Dubuque's leading scorer, Noah Powell, beat Kempf inside the post past his blocker to bring the home team back within a score. Later in the period, Powell netted his second off a pretty tic-tac-toe passing display to tie the game at 3-3 heading into the final period of regulation. 

Team USA jumped back in front 1:55 into the third period. Shane Vansgahi (St. Louis, Mo.) trapped a Reidler rimming attempt and quickly centered the puck in front to McMorrow, who tapped in to the empty net for a 4-3 advantage. 

Dubuque's Powell completed the hat-trick midway through the third period on the power play to set Dubuque's single-season goal scoring record with his 38th of the season. He was set up from NTDP product Seamus Powell on the game-tying score. 

Neither team found the back of the net for the remainder of regulation, or in the overtime session in which the U18s held a 3-1 shot margin. 

The first four skaters in the shootout were held without a goal before Plante used a highlight-reel move, where he faked going between his legs and roofed a backhand, for the lone goal of the skills session. 

Kempf shut the door on all three Dubuque attempts in the shootout and finished his night with 43 saves, a USHL season-high for the netminder, and three off his season high of 46 against Boston University in October.

The two sides meet for a rematch tomorrow night with an 8:05 p.m. ET puck drop at ImOn Ice. 

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