HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) scored two goals and added an assist as the U.S. National Under-18 Team rallied to beat the University of Alabama-Huntsville, 4-2, here today at the Von Braun Center. Team USA's final record versus collegiate opponents improves to 9-7-2 (W-L-T).
The Chargers opened the scoring at 8:15 of the first frame, converting on a second-chance opportunity on the power play. Team USA doubled up UAH in shots, 12-6, but could not solve Charger netminder Matt Larose and found itself down 1-0 after 20 minutes of regulation time.
The Under-18 Team knotted the contest at one 4:12 into the second stanza. Surveying the play from behind the net, Bracco sent a pass to an open Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) in the slot. White made no mistake about it and potted the equalizer for the U.S. Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) also assisted. UAH responded midway through the period off a 3-on-2 break, dropping a feed back to the trailer for the shot. Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) jammed the puck past the goal line for Team USA's second tally, capitalizing off a Charger turnover deep in the zone. Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) earned an assist on the play, getting the first whack on the loose puck before Roslovic converted.
The two squads would appear destined to head into another overtime before Bracco broke out on a breakaway and put the puck between Larose's pads for the eventual game winner. The marker, scored with just 26 seconds remaining, was assisted on by White. On the ensuing faceoff at center ice, UAH pulled Larose in favor of the extra attacker, but Bracco put the game away with an empty-net goal. Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) and Matthews collected helpers.
Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) made the start for Team USA, kicking out 11 shots in the victory.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team now focuses its attention to the 2015 Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic. Team USA will face teams from the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden from Feb. 4-8.
Team USA outshot the Chargers, 43-13 ... The U.S. went 0-3 on the power play while Alabama-Huntsville went 1-2 ... Team USA leads the all-time series, 7-0-1 (W-L-T) ... Matthew Tkachuk led all U.S. National Under-18 Team skaters with 26 points (11-15) in 18 NCAA games ... Auston Matthews scored a team best 14 goals, including four game-winning markers, versus college teams and was second on the squad in points (20) despite playing in just 13 games.