ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Graham McPhee (Bethesda, Md.) scored a power-play goal and goaltender Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.) made 39 saves, but the Chicago Steel rallied from a 1-0 deficit to slip past the U.S. National Under-17 Team, 3-1, here tonight at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. These same two teams will square off again tomorrow (Jan. 17) in a rematch.
Neither team found the back of the net in the opening 20 minutes thanks to 14 saves by Oettinger for the U.S. and seven stops by Chicago goaltender Lassi Yrjola.
Team USA grabbed a 1-0 lead just 5:44 into the middle stanza when McPhee converted on the power play. Luke Martin (St. Louis, Mo.) started the play when he worked the puck along the blue line to Ryan Lindgren (Minneapolis, Minn.). Lindgren gathered the pass and sent a shot towards the Chicago net. McPhee, who was standing at the edge of the crease, got a stick on the Lindgren shot and tipped it past Yrjola. Chicago evened the score with 2:39 to play in the period on a rebound to the left of Oettinger.
The Steel punched the puck past Oettinger twice in the final frame to close out a 3-1 victory.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team and Chicago will meet once again tomorrow (Jan. 17) at the Ice Cube. Puck drop is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET and the contest will be streamed live on FASTHockey.com.
Team USA was outshot by Chicago, 42-30 ... The U.S. went 1-2 on the power play while Chicago went 0-4 ... The National Team Development Program will do battle a total of six times this season. The U17s also play the Steel on April 4, in Bensenville, Illinois, while the U18s are slated to play the Steel twice more in 2014-15 (March 14 at Chicago; March 27 at Ann Arbor).
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