PLYMOUTH, Mich. - Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill.) tallied the game-winning goal in overtime as the U.S. National Under-18 Team edged Niagara University, 3-2, tonight at USA Hockey Arena. Kieffer Bellows (Edina, Minn.) and Trent Frederic (St. Louis, Mo.) picked up Team USA’s two goals in regulation, while Joseph Woll (St. Louis, Mo.) stopped 28-of-30 Purple Eagle shots.
In the first period, Team USA opened the scoring on the power play when Luke Martin (St. Louis, Mo.), on the right point, shifted the puck to Ryan Lindgren (Minneapolis, Minn.) on the left point. Lindgren fired a pass to Bellows near the top of the right circle and Bellows ripped a shot that hit the post, it bounced off the goaltender’s back and in for the 1-0 lead.
Team USA and Niagara traded chances in the second period, and eventually Niagara pulled even at 11:13 of period. Then with just 33 seconds on the clock, Graham McPhee (Bethesda, Md.) lead the rush up the right wing and slipped a pass to Frederic coming in at the top of the slot for an easy wrist shot and the go-ahead marker.
The end-to-end action continued in the third frame, and in the final two minutes Niagara’s Luke Edwards notched the equalizer for his second goal of the night.
Just 1:37 into the five-on-five overtime, Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn.) battled along the right wing boards just inside the Niagara blue line. The puck squirted free to Keller making a break up the slot and he roofed it for the 3-2 final score. Bellows also assisted on the play.
Keller and Frederic were named the night first and third stars, respectively. Zach Walker (Boise, Idaho) was named the Labatt Hardest Working Player.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team hits the road next weekend in United State Hockey League play. Friday, Nov. 20, the U18s face the Omaha Lancers and Saturday, Nov. 21, they take on the Des Moines Buccaneers. Both games will stream live on FASTHockey.com.