DUBUQUE, Iowa - Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) made 29 saves, and five different players scored a goal, as the U.S. National Under-17 Team handed the Dubuque Fighting Saints its first home loss, 5-4, here tonight at the Mystique Ice Center. It was the second meeting between the top two teams in the United States Hockey League’s Eastern Conference in just seven days. With the win, Team USA now holds a share of first place in its conference.
Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) gave the U.S. a quick lead, putting the first shot of the game past Christian Frey just 1:50 after the puck dropped. After Team USA dumped the puck into the attacking zone, Bracco put heavy pressure on the Fighting Saints defender as he retrieved the puck. At the left face-off dot, Bracco stole the puck and sent a backhander high over Frey’s shoulder. Dennis Yan (Troy, Mich.) doubled the U.S. lead at 12:56, immediately after a power-play opportunity expired. Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.) stood in the corner to the left of Frey and bounced a hard shot off Frey’s pads. Yan walked down and slammed home the rebound from the slot for an easy score.
Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) gave Team USA a three-goal lead with a short-handed tally at 14:23 of the second stanza, finishing a pass from Colin White (Hanover, Mass.). Dubuque answered quickly, however, converting on that same power play at 15:10 and then again 13 seconds later to slash its deficit to a single marker entering the third period.
The Fighting Saints came out fast in the final frame, netting two goals and taking a 4-3 lead after 5:20 of play. Team USA rallied after allowing four unanswered goals, notching two scores of its own. Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) pulled the U.S. even at 13:26 before Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.) reclaimed the lead 26 seconds later. Dubuque pulled Frey with 1:17 remaining in favor of the extra attacker, but the U.S. defense was able to withstand the attack.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team takes on the Waterloo Black Hawks tomorrow (Dec. 14) at Young Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EST.
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U.S. National Under-17 Team
Michael Lackey (29 saves)
Dubuque Fighting Saints
Joe Llaurado (1 goal, 1 assist)
Dubuque Fighting Saints
Eric Robinson (1 assist)