YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) scored twice and five other U.S. skaters notched at least one point as the U.S. National Under-18 Team erased a four-goal deficit and knocked off the Youngstown Phantoms, 5-4, in a shootout here tonight at the Covelli Centre.
The Phantoms built a 4-0 lead by the 3:10 mark of the third period, but Team USA rallied with four goals of its own in a three-minute stretch to force overtime. Brendan Warren (Carleton, Mich.) started the scoring outburst at 9:00 of the third when he found the back of the net on the power play. Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) was credited with the lone assist. Matthews scored his first of the game 1:50 later to pull the U.S. within two goals. Joe Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) and Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) earned assists. Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.) then scored at 11:18 with help from Warren and Terry before Roslovic set up Matthews for the game-tying goal at 12:00.
Neither squad scored in the five-minute overtime session, but Terry and Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) buried goals in the shootout and goaltender Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) stopped two-of-three Youngstown shots to clinch the victory.
Opilka finished with 16 total saves between regulation and overtime.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team and Youngstown clash once again tomorrow (Dec. 6) at the Covelli Centre. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Team USA outshot Youngstown, 43-20 ... The U.S. went 1-4 on the power play while the Phantoms went 0-5 ... The U.S. National Under-18 Team is now 10-1 this season versus United States Hockey League opponents ... Tonight's contest marked the fourth of six meetings between the U18 Team and Youngstown this year ... Steven Ruggiero (Kings Park, N.Y.) played for the Phantoms in 2013-14 ... Youngstown's Kyle Connor helped the 2014 U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team win the gold medal at the IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship last April in Finland.
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