Photo by Tom Sorensen.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.) and Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) recorded one goal apiece, but the U.S. National Under-18 Team was handled by the Muskegon Lumberjacks, 3-2, here tonight at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. It was just the second regulation loss in United States Hockey League play for the Under-18 Team.
Muskegon opened the scoring late in the first period. The U.S. outshot its opponent, 8-6, in the frame but each attempt was turned aside by Lumberjacks goalie Eric Schierhorn.
Team USA had multiple scoring chances in the middle frame, but Schierhorn kept the U18s off the board once again. Muskegon added the only goal of the second stanza, doubling its lead on the power play, to make it 2-0.
Hitchcock lit the lamp for the U.S. at 13:56 of the third period, swatting a puck that bounced off of a Muskegon defender’s helmet and into the net. Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.) and Larkin picked up helpers on the tally. The Lumberjacks answered less than a minute later, reclaiming a two-goal advantage over Team USA. Following the marker, Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) entered the game in relief of Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.). Larkin pulled the U18s back within one tally with 36 seconds left on the clock, taking a long pass from Jack Glover (Golden Valley, Minn.) and stuffing his own rebound into the net. Weyrick was pulled in favor of the extra attacker for the final 30 seconds, but the U.S. was unable to find the equalizer.
Minney stopped 19 shots for Team USA in 54:38 of action, while Weyrick did not face a shot in just under five minutes between the pipes. Shierhorn kicked out 20 shots in the win for Muskegon.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team will suit right back up tomorrow (Jan. 18) against the Waterloo Black Hawks. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. EST at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. Team USA will wear specialty jerseys in celebration of Star Wars Night. Jerseys will be auctioned off to help benefit C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team now holds a 12-3-1 (W-L-OTL) record in United States Hockey League action this season, including two wins at the Fall Classic East. Team USA's two regulation losses have come at the hands of Muskegon ... Follow the NTDP on Twitter ... Like the NTDP on Facebook ... 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.
Daniel Willet (1 goal, 1 assist)
Eric Shierhorn (20 saves)
U.S. National Under-18 Team
Dylan Larkin (1 goal, 1 assist)