ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Keenan Suthers (Macomb, Mich.) and Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill.) scored one goal each but the U.S. National Under-18 Team was handed a 5-2 loss by the University of Michigan here tonight at Yost Ice Arena.
Team USA and the Wolverines each put seven shots on net in the first frame, but neither squad scored until the early stages of the second period. Skating through the slot, Nick Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla.) split two Michigan defenders and threaded a backhand pass to Suthers skating up the left side. Suthers ripped a shot that clanked off iron and into the cage to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. Skating 4-on-4 late in the stanza, the Wolverines tied the game and the score remained deadlocked heading into the final frame.
Michigan jumped to a 3-1 lead with goals less than one minute apart in the third period. The first came at 3:42 on a cross-ice pass, right to left, and a quick shot from the slot that beat Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.). A one-time blast from former NTDP forward Tyler Motte (St. Clair, Mich./2011-13) increased the Wolverine advantage to two goals at 4:35.
The Wolverines pushed their lead to 5-1 before Keller struck at 14:57 to draw the U.S. closer. A tic-tac-toe passing play left Keller an open shooting lane and the forward potted Team USA's second score. Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn.) and Matthew Hellickson (Rogers, Minn.) assisted. Keller's marker was the last on the evening and time expired with the scoreboard in favor of the Wolverines, 5-2.
Oettinger stopped 32 shots in the loss for the Under-18 Team.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team will next travel to East Lansing, Michigan, to face the Michigan State Spartans on Saturday, Jan. 23. Puck drop is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET at Munn Ice Arena.