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U18s Sweep Muskegon to End Domestic Schedule, 4-2

By USA Hockey's NTDP, 04/06/24, 9:45PM EDT


Eiserman and Bednarik collect two points apiece in win

Photo by Rena Laverty

PLYMOUTH, Mich. - Sam Laurila (Moorhead, Minn.) potted the game-winning goal midway through the third period to help propel the U.S. National Under-18 Team to a 4-2 win over the Muskegon Lumberjacks Saturday night at USA Hockey Arena. 


After a back-and-forth start the opening period, Team USA found the scoreboard first on a late power play. Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.) intercepted a Muskegon clearing attempt before finding Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) in the left faceoff dot. Eiserman got a quick shot off to score his 49th goal of the season, further extending his lead as the U18s top goal scorer. Ziemer collected his 32nd assist on the 1-0 score.

Box Score


Team USA outshot the Lumberjacks 10-7 after 20 minutes of play. 

Muskegon tied the game up at one apiece just over a minute into the second period. The equalizer came from Ethan Whitcomb who broke up a Team USA clearance attempt at the blue line. Whitcomb went five-hole to get one past Nick Kempf (Chicago, Ill.). 

The U18s took a 2-1 lead after Eiserman and Max Plante (Hermantwon, Minn.) battled for the puck in the offensive zone before Plante sent a pass to Kamil Bednarik (Chicago, Ill.) near the side of the net. Bednarik skated the puck to the front and scored off the rebound of his initial shot to earn his 24th goal of the season. The U18s restored their lead at 5:18 of the second. 

Just over halfway through the period, the Lumberjacks tied the game up once more. Jake Toll connected with Joe Connor in the opposite faceoff circle before Connor sent a wrister toward net where it deflected off a skate and into Team USA's goal.

Just past the midway mark of the third, LJ Mooney (West Mifflin, Pa.) quickly skated the puck out of his defensive zone and onto the attack. He handed the puck over to Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who sent the puck towards the net, causing a scramble in the crease from both teams. After multiple attempts from the U18s to jam the puck past Muskegon's goalie, it was defensemen Sam Laurila (Moorhead, Minn.) who knocked it in back door. Laurila’s third goal of the season put Team USA up 3-2 with just over ten minutes left of play. Humphreys and Bednarik both tallied an assist. 

In the final minute of play, Muskegon had a chance to send the game to overtime with a penalty shot, but Kempf stood tall and came up big with the crucial save. 

Seconds later, James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) put home an empty-netter to give Team USA a 4-2 win. 

Kempf finished with 20 saves to earn his 18th win of the campaign.

Next up for the U18s is the IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship in Espoo & Vantaa, Finland. The tournament begins April 26 and all Team USA games will broadcast live on NHL Network.

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