ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Twelve different players recorded a point, including a two-assist night for Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), and Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) turned aside 30 shots, as the U.S. National Under-17 Team toppled the Indiana Ice, 5-3, tonight at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. The win improved Team USA to a United States Hockey League best 6-1-0 (W-L-OTL).
Brody Stevens (Ann Arbor, Mich.) opened scoring for the U.S. at 2:55 of the first frame. Stevens split the Ice defense and picked up a loose puck that bounced over a defender’s stick. Taking a step into the high slot, Stevens launched a long-range snapshot over the shoulder of Indiana goaltender Jason Pawloski. Werenski earned his first assist on the tally.
The Ice evened the score 1:11 later, but Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.) would reclaim the U.S. lead. After Indiana was whistled for a slashing penalty at 11:07, Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) won the ensuing faceoff back to Werenski. Werenski slid the puck across the point to Hanifin, who blasted a shot into the net just five seconds into the power play.
Both teams traded goals in the second period. Team USA extended its lead to two markers while skating with the man advantage 2:11 into the frame. Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) redirected a Nicholas Boka (Plymouth, Mich.) shot in front of Pawloski and buried his own rebound for the third U.S. tally. Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) also picked up a helper on the play. Indiana halved the Under-17 Team lead at the 4:19 mark, but Team USA carried a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.
In the third, Indiana scored quickly, finding the equalizer at 1:40 on the power play. Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale, Ill.) responded when he notched the eventual game-winner for the U.S. at 4:07. Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.) worked the puck down low to Luke Kirwan (Dewitt, N.Y.) in the left corner. Floodstrand cut down through the slot and tipped a hard pass from Kirwan through the pads of Indiana’s new goaltender Samu Perhonen.
Indiana had multiple chances to tie the game up, including an extended 5-on-3, but Opilka stood strong and kicked out 16 shots in the third period. Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) secured the win for Team USA at 11:36 while on its own two-man advantage, kicking an errant pass from Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) onto his stick and slamming it into the net.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team next takes on the Indiana Ice in a rematch of tonight's contest. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET, tomorrow night (Oct. 4) at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. All fans in attendance will have the opportunity to skate with the players following the game.
Indiana forward Jacob Pritchard skated in four games total between the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Team last season ... Download the Sport Ngin Mobile App for Apple iOS and Android devices and follow the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams. Fans, parents, athletes and coaches now have unprecedented access to scores, stats, schedules, photos and more. The app is free and allows users to track scores and news updates from one team. Those wishing to follow more than one team can make a simple in-app purchase of $1.99. Click here to download the app.
U.S. National Under-17 Team
Luke Opilka (30 saves)
U.S. National Under-17 Team
Colin White (1 assist)
Jacob Pritchard (1 goal, 1 assist)