Photo by Rena Laverty
PLYMOUTH, Mich. — Hunter Strand (Anchorage, Alaska) delivered his sixth goal of the season, but the U.S. National Under-17 Team fell to the Central Illinois Flying Aces by a 4-1 final Saturday night at USA Hockey Arena.
After a scoreless first frame in which Team USA goaltender Drew Commesso (Norwell, Mass.) made seven stops, Strand opened scoring for the Team USA when he took and feed in tight from Chase Yoder (Fairview, Texas) and slipped it into the net with a backhand.
The goal, Strand's sixth of the season, represented the fifth power-play marker for the U17s in their past three games.
The U17s continued to apply pressure after Strand's tally and maintained a 27-18 advantage in the shot count through two periods. However, the Flying Aces responded and found the back of the net three times in the frame to take a 3-1 lead.
Commesso made nine stops across the final 20 minutes to keep the U17s within striking distance, including one on a breakaway, but Team USA could not take advantage of the opportunity.
A redirect by Landon Slaggert (South Bend, Ind.), which glanced off the crossbar, represented Team USA's best scoring chance of the third period.
Central Illinois scored the game's final goal with 5 minutes, 14 seconds to play.
The U17s head into their international break with an overall record of 13-16-3-3 ahead of the 2019 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Tranås, Sweden. Preliminary-round play begins with a matchup between Team USA and Finland on Feb. 5. Livestream information will be provided at a later date.
NOTES: Team USA outshot the Flying Aces by a 35-28 margin ... The U17s went 1-for-5 on the power play and killed off all four penalties they faced ... Hunter Strand earned the No. 3 Star of the Game.