Photo by Rebecca Cook
The U.S. National Under-17 Team won its first-ever USHL post-season game tonight against the Chicago Steel in a 3-0 win, in Game 1 of its Eastern Conference Semifinal match-up.
"I thought the players came out at the beginning and most importantly weren't intimidated by the stage," head coach John Wroblewski said.
The game opened with a scoreless first period despite power play opportunities for both teams.
Drew Helleson (Farmington, Minn.) sprung Owen Lindmark (Naperville, Ill.) at center ice while Team USA was short-handed. Lindmark sent the puck over the glove of Chicago’s Oskar Autio at 5:53 of the second period to give the U17s a 1-0 lead.
Helleson extended the U17s lead, 2-0 at the 5:47 mark of the third period. He sent the puck in from the right point to the far side of the net with help from Bobby Brink (Minnetonka, Minn.) and John Beecher (Elmira, N.Y.).
Beecher netted Team USA’s second short-handed goal of the game on a partial breakaway at 10:30 of the third period to give the U17s a 3-0 lead.
Cameron Rowe (Wilmette, Ill.) picked up his first career shutout with 29 saves while Chicago’s Autio collected 24.
Wroblewski added that Rowe has played a lot of good games for Team USA and that "the kid can rise up."
The U17s take on Chicago for Game 2 tomorrow night (Sunday, April 22) at 3 p.m. ET at USA Hockey Arena. Tickets are available at USAHockeyNTDP.com/Playoffs