J.T. Compher rips a shot towards the net versus Chicago. Photo by Tom Sorensen.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Tyler Motte (St. Clair, Mich.) scored twice and J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill.) netted one goal and added two assists, as the U.S. National Under-18 Team clipped the Chicago Steel, 4-2, on Jan. 20, at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. With the win, Team USA earned six of a possible eights points in the United States Hockey League standings.
Anthony Louis is knocked down looking for a goal in front of the Chicago net. Photo by Tom Sorensen.
Kevin Labanc (Staten Island, N.Y.) opened scoring for the U18s at 1:48 of the first period. Labanc collected a rebound off the left pad of Chicago netminder Chris Nell and roofed it under the crossbar for the score. Sean Malone (West Seneca, N.Y.) and Anthony Louis (Winfield, Ill.) registered assists on the tally. Motte doubled the U.S. lead at 14:58, snapping a Compher pass into the cage. Chicago responded less than a minute later to cut the Team USA advantage in half.
Motte reclaimed the two-goal lead for the U.S. at 11:26 of the middle stanza. Compher had the initial shot and earned an assist, along with John Hayden (Greenwich, Conn.). The Steel once again clawed back into the game, potting a goal at 15:21. The Under-18 Team held on to its one-goal edge, 3-2, heading into second intermission.
Team USA held Chicago to eight shots in the final frame and Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif.) closed the door on the Steel, not allowing the equalizing goal to be scored. Compher added an empty net goal for the U.S. with one second remaining. Hayden collected his second assist on the night and the U.S. won, 4-2.
The Under-18 Team heads back to collegiate action as it travels to East Lansing, Mich. to face the Michigan State Spartans on Tuesday (Jan. 22). Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST at Munn Ice Arena. Team USA holds a 4-4-0 all-time record versus the Spartans. The game will be broadcast in the state of Michigan on Comcast channel 900.
Tyler Motte, forward (2 goals)
J.T. Compher, forward (1 goal, 2 assists)
Thatcher Demko, goalie (24 saves)