ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) scored two goals and assisted on one other, and goaltender Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) turned in a 28-save performance as the U.S. National Under-18 Team skated past the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point Pointers, 5-2, here this evening at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. With the win, Team USA improves to 5-4-1 (W-L-T) against NCAA Division I and III competition this season.
The Pointers used the man advantage to strike for the game's first tally at 10:30 of the opening period and held the lead until Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) knotted the score with 23 seconds left. After Luke Kunin (St. Louis, Mo.) had a shot blocked in the slot, Terry swooped in, gathered the puck and slid it past Stevens Point goaltender Brandon Jaeger. Charles McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y.) earned the secondary assist on the play.
Matthews connected for a pair of goals in the first 10:07 of the second to help Team USA build a 3-1 edge. His first goal came just 1:13 into the period on a tic-tac-toe play with linemates Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) and Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.). After racing into the zone, Tkachuk dished the puck to Roslovic on the far side. Roslovic waited and threw it to Matthews, who quickly picked the corner to put the U.S. up, 2-1. Then, at 10:07, Roslovic and Matthews executed a give-and-go just inside the offensive blue line that ended with Matthews slipping the puck by Jaeger's blocker. McAvoy recorded his second assist of the game on the play. The Pointers managed to score at 16:33 to pull to within a goal entering the third frame.
Tkachuk and Kunin scored third-period goals to put the game out of reach. Tkachuk's goal came after a flurry in front of the net and was assisted by Matthews and Roslovic. Kunin closed the scoring at 14:07 when he one-timed a Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) pass into the top corner.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team next travels to Youngstown, Ohio, for back-to-back tilts against the Phantoms on Dec. 5-6. Both contests will be held at the Covelli Centre with 7:05 p.m. ET start times.
Team USA outshot the Pointers, 38-30 … The U18s were 0-for-2 with the power play, while UW-Stevens Point connected on one of its two tries … The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point was most recently ranked No. 9 amongst NCAA III teams ... Today's contest marked the first time these two squads have met ... This was the fourth of five games for the U.S. National Under-18 Team against NCAA Division III teams in 2014-15. Team USA is now 3-1-0 against DIII squads, having previously knocked off Augsburg (Minn.) College, 6-1, and Neumann (Pa.) University, 7-1. The U18s fell to Oswego State (N.Y.) University earlier this year, 5-3 ... The Under-18 Team's final outing against NCAA III teams comes on Dec. 31 in Toledo, Ohio, against Adrian (Mich.) College.
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