BENSENVILLE, Ill. - Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) scored a goal and added two assists, and four other players tallied a goal and an assist each, as the U.S. National Under-17 Team picked up a point in a shootout loss to the Chicago Steel, 6-5, here tonight at The Edge Ice Arena. The U17s finish its season series with Chicago at 1-0-2 (W-L-OTL), with both previous games held at the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Ice Cube.
Chicago opened the scoring at 7:45 of the first period before Nicholas Boka (Plymouth, Mich.) answered just 1:02 later to even the game. Bracco sent the puck from the half boards to Christian Evers (Waukee, Iowa) at the attacking blueline. Evers slid the puck to Boka who lit the lamp.
The Steel struck quickly to start the second stanza, potting its second goal just 24 seconds after the puck dropped. Team USA responded with two unanswered goals at 1:50 and 4:59 to take its first lead of the game. First, Grant Gabriele (Brighton, Mich.) started a play with a breakout pass to Luke Kirwan (DeWitt, N.Y.). Kirwan found Bracco streaking through the neutral zone for a partial breakaway and Bracco deposited the puck between the pads of Cale Morris for the tally. Ryan Wagner (Park Ridge, Ill.) put the U.S. on top three minutes later. Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) carried the puck through two Chicago defenders and skated toward the bottom of the right faceoff circle. With a defender draped around him, Greenway used his long reach to send a pass to Wagner in the slot for the easy score. Boka also assisted on the play. The back-and-forth battle continued as Chicago tied the game once again at 6:29.
Greenway reclaimed the lead for Team USA, 4-3, just 1:34 into the final frame, teaming up with Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) and Wagner for the score. Chicago responded two minutes later, then again at 6:51 to take a 5-4 lead. The U.S. pulled goaltender Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) in favor of the extra attacker and found the equalizer with 54 seconds remaining. Kirwan found the back of the net after a mad scramble in the slot, picking up multiple rebounds and finally beating Morris. Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.) and Bracco registered helpers.
Each team saw chances to secure victory in the extra period, but neither could covert and the game was decided with a shootout. Team USA missed the first two shots of the shootout, while Chicago was successful in its two attempts to clinch the win.
Lackey made 27 saves for Team USA in the shootout loss, while Morris kicked out 26 shots for Chicago in the victory.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team is back in action tomorrow night (March 29) when it travels to Green Bay, Wis., to do battle with the Gamblers. The game will mark the final USHL road contest of the 2013-14 season for the U17s. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EDT.
Luke Kunin has four points (2-2) in his past four USHL games ... Jeremy Bracco registered his ninth multi-point game in the USHL. The forward has 15 points (3-12) in his past nine games ... Jordan Greenway notched his sixth multi-point game in the USHL ... Luke Kirwan now has 11 points (4-7) in his past nine games within the league ... Follow the NTDP on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook ... Download the Sport Ngin Mobile App for Apple iOS and Android devices and follow the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams. Fans, parents, athletes, and coaches now have unprecedented access to scores, stats, schedules, photos, and more. The app is free and allows users to track scores and news updates from one team. Those wishing to follow more than one team can make a simple in-app purchase of $1.99. Click here to download the app.
Robby Jackson (1 goal, 1 assist)
Mason Bergh (2 goals)
Brian LeBlanc (2 assists)