GREEN BAY, Wis. - Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) scored two goals and added two assists as the U.S. National Under-18 Team claimed a 5-2 victory over the Green Bay Gamblers here tonight at the Resch Center. These two squads will face each other again tomorrow night (Feb. 28).
Matthews opened the scoring for Team USA late in the first frame. Cycling the puck up top, Charles McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y.) found Chad Krys (Ridgefield, Conn.) who zipped a shot on net. The puck bounced to Matthews in front who backhanded the rebound into the cage. The U.S. outshot Green Bay, 14-2, in the period.
The Under-18 Team doubled its lead, 2-0, when Caleb Jones (Frisco, Texas) hit Matthews in between the circles with a pass. Matthews then fired a wrist shot over the glove of Gamblers netminder Adam Huska for the score. Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) also assisted. Green Bay answered 19 seconds later to cut the U.S. lead in half. The U18s regained the two-goal advantage when Matthews threw the puck toward the corner, deflecting off a Green Bay skater. McAvoy scooped up the loose puck, waited patiently as he drew Huska out of position and lit the lamp. Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) earned the secondary helper on the play. Matthews' fourth point came when he found Tkachuk to the right of the Green Bay net. Tkachuk surveyed the ice before connecting with Roslovic who hammered the puck home from the slot. Team USA pushed its lead to four after a shot attempt hit Huska and popped up in the air. Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale, Ill.) batted the rebound in and the U.S. went into the second intermission up 5-1. Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.) and Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) collected assists.
Green Bay netted the lone goal of the third period but the Under-18 Team skated away with the 5-2 victory.
Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) made the start for the U.S. and turned away 11 shots in the victory.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team faces the Green Bay Gamblers in a rematch tomorrow night (Feb. 28) at the Resch Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET and can be seen live online at FASTHockey.com.
Team USA outshot Green Bay, 31-13 ... The U.S. went 1-4 on the power play while the Gamblers were 0-5 with the man advantage.
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