BOSTON - Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) scored twice and added one assist and goaltender Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) turned in a 25-save performance, but the U.S. National Under-18 Team suffered a 6-4 setback against No. 13-ranked Boston University at Agganis Arena tonight.
After Terriers forward Danny O'Regan finished off a tic-tac-toe play with 5:09 remaining in the opening frame, Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) found the back of the net on the power play to knot the score. Matthews picked up the loose puck and skated below the goal line before centering a pass to Bracco at the edge of the crease. Bracco then quickly one-timed the puck into the top corner for the score. Charles McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y.) also assisted on the play.
BU stormed out of the gates in the middle period, scoring three times in the first five minutes to jump out to a 4-1 lead. Matthews netted his first of the game on a power play with 13:39 remaining to pull Team USA within a pair. A Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) shot bounced around in front of the net before Matthews poked it home. A similar play six minutes later helped the U18s make it a 4-3 game. Bracco started the action when he fed Tkachuk in the slot, who then fired the puck into traffic. Matthews swooped in, grabbed the loose puck and snuck it over the line.
The Terriers regained a two-goal edge with just under 10 minutes to play in the final stanza on a nice backdoor play. Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.) collected Team USA's fourth goal with 3:44 left when he picked a corner on a breakaway, but the Under-18 Team couldn't find the equalizer and a late BU empty-net goal sealed it.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team returns to the ice Friday (Oct. 24) when it visits No. 15 Cornell University. It will mark the fifth straight game versus a ranked opponent. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET at Lynah Rink in Ithaca, New York.
Boston University outshot Team USA, 31-24 … The Under-18 Team went 2-for-3 on the power play, while the Terriers converted on one of three attempts with the man advantage … Auston Matthews now has points in 10 straight games … Jeremy Bracco extended his personal point streak to six games … Boston University has five alumni of the National Team Development Program on its roster - Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./2012-14), Brandon Fortunato (North Hills, N.Y./2012-14), Matt Grzelcyk (Charlestown, Mass./2010-12), Matthew Lane (Rochester, N.Y./2010-12) and Johnathan MacLeod (Dracut, Mass./2012-14) … Eichel, Fortunato and MacLeod were recognized prior to the game as they were presented championship rings from the 2014 IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship ... Follow the NTDP on Twitter (@USANTDP), Instagram (USANTDP) and like us on Facebook (USA Hockey's NTDP).
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