*Photo courtesy of mihockeynow.com.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) scored the lone goal and Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) stopped 31 of 33 shots as the U.S. National Under-18 Team was bested by Michigan State University, 4-1, here tonight at Munn Ice Arena tonight. With the loss, Team USA falls to 7-7-2 (W-L-T) versus collegiate opponents in 2014-15.
After skating to a scoreless tie in the first frame, Michigan State opened the scoring at 7:45 of the second stanza. The Spartans went up 2-0 when former National Team Development Program forward Dylan Pavelek (Marysville, Mich./2012-14) collected his own rebound off a breakaway and beat Lackey at 19:06.
Lackey was pulled in favor of the extra attacker late in the third period, but the Spartans notched an empty-net goal at 18:32 to seemingly seal the victory. Team USA responded just 23 seconds later however when Matthews stepped around a defender and fired a wrist shot into the corner of the net. Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) registered an assist on the play. Pulling Lackey once more in search of another marker, Michigan State watched as the puck slowly slid into the empty cage with five seconds remaining.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team next travels to Bensenville, Illinois, home of the United States Hockey League's Chicago Steel. The two squads will square off tomorrow night (Jan. 10) at The Edge Ice Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET and can be seen live at FASTHockey.com.
Michigan State outshot Team USA, 35-21 … The U.S. National Under-18 Team went 0-3 on the power play while the Spartans went 0-2 … Team USA's record against Michigan State is now 6-5-0 (W-L-T) all-time … The National Team Development Program has produced 21 players who have gone on to skate at Michigan State University … The NTDP helped develop two current Spartan players - goaltender Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa./2012-14) and forward Dylan Pavelek (Marysville, Mich./2012-14) … U.S. National Under-17 head coach Danton Cole was a four-year standout with Michigan State University from 1985-89, racking up 163 points (69-94) in 180 outings. Cole played a key role in MSU’s 1986 NCAA national championship, earned three CCHA All-Academic Team citations and also served as an assistant captain for two seasons. The Pontiac, Michigan, native received the Big Ten Medal of Honor as MSU’s top student-athlete in 1989 and in 2012-13 was awarded the Distinguished Spartan Award.
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