MUSKEGON, Mich. - Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.) and Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale, Ill.) netted one goal each, but the U.S. National Under-17 Team was cut down by the Muskegon Lumberjacks, 5-2, here tonight at L.C. Walker Arena. Despite the loss, Team USA claimed five of a possible eight points in the United States Hockey League this weekend.
Fitzgerald opened the scoring for Team USA 2:06 into the game. A flurry of shots in front of Muskegon goaltender Jordan Uhelski resulted in multiple rebound chances for the U.S. before Fitzgerald buried the puck in the back of the net. Dennis Yan (Troy, Mich.) and Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) picked up helpers on the play. Muskegon knotted the game at one as the clock ticked under two minutes to play sending the teams into the first intermission tied, 1-1.
Muskegon outshot the U.S. 18-3 in the middle stanza, but managed to beat Team USA's Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) only once at 15:43. Team USA pulled even just over a minute later when Floodstrand swatted a back-hander past Uhelski. After a clearing attempt by Muskegon caromed off the glass and into the slot, Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.) fired a shot off Uhelski's pads. The rebound bounced across the crease to Floodstrand, who tapped the puck into the cage.
The Lumberjacks restaked its lead, 3-2, with a power-play marker at 5:28 of the final frame before adding two more goals at 13:18 and 17:48 to secure the 5-2 victory.
Opilka had 44 total saves in the loss for Team USA, while Uhelski kicked out 24 shots in the win for Muskegon.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team is back in action later this week, facing off with the Indiana Ice in a Thursday night (Jan. 30) match-up. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. EST at the Pan Am Pavilion.
Team USA splits the weekened series with Muskegon, as the U.S. National Under-18 Team shut out the Lumberjacks, 7-0, last night (Jan. 24). Goaltender Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) made 38 saves for the shutout win ... Muskegon blueliner Adam Larkin is the cousin of Under-18 Team forward Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) ... 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.
Matt Iacopelli (2 goals)
Christian Wolanin (1 goal, 2 assists)
Matej Paulovic (1 goal)