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Under-17s Settle for Split on USHL Road Trip in Nebraska

03/16/2014, 12:30pm EDT
By USA Hockey

Lincoln 7 - Team USA 4 (F)

LINCOLN, Neb. - Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) scored two goals and added an assist, but the U.S. National Under-17 Team fell to the Lincoln Stars, 7-4, here tonight at the Lincoln Ice Box. The game was the first and only meeting between the younger National Team Development Program squad and the Stars this year.

After Lincoln opened the scoring at 2:03 of the first period, Team USA responded with four unanswered goals. Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) put the U.S. on the board with a tally at 8:31. Werenski picked up a helper on the play. At the 11:36 mark, Werenski potted his first during a delayed penalty call. Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) and Dennis Yan (Troy, Mich.) added assists. Werenski lit the lamp again just 2:01 later on the power play, teaming up with Greenway and Tkachuk. Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) pushed the U.S. lead to 4-1 with a goal at 16:02. Luke Kirwan (DeWitt, N.Y.) and Grant Gabriele (Brighton, Mich.) registered helpers on the play.

U.S. goaltender Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) made 19 saves in the second period, but the Stars managed to score three times, at 1:26, 11:08 and 13:49 to knot the game at four goals apiece.

Team USA outshot Lincoln 9-8 in the final frame, but Lincoln managed to find the back of the net three more times, including a power-play goal at 0:12 and an empty net goal at 19:59, to secure the 7-4 victory.

Lackey made 35 saves in the loss for Team USA, while Michael Bitzer and Jacob Nehama combined to stop 32 shots for Lincoln in the win.

The U.S. National Under-17 Team will continue on its Nebraska road trip tomorrow when they square off with the Omaha Lancers. Game time is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. EDT at Ralston Arena.

Notes

Zach Werenski scored his first United States Hockey League goal ... Jeremy Bracco extended his USHL point streak to five games, dating back to Feb. 14. The forward has one goal and eight assists in that span ... Jordan Greenway is on a three-game scoring streak and also has one assist over those contests ... Luke Kirwan also has a three-game point streak. Kirwan has three goals and one assist dating back to March 1 ... Follow the NTDP on Twitter and like us 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.

Team USA 5 - Omaha 3 (F)

RALSTON, Neb. -  Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.) scored twice, and seven skaters had at least one point, as the U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated the Omaha Lancers, 5-3, here tonight at Ralston Arena. With the win, Team USA's combined recored in the United States Hockey League improves to 24-22-4 (W-L-OTL).

Brendan Warren (Carleton, Mich.) found the initial marker for Team USA at 3:26 of the first frame. Charles McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y.) skated deep into the Lancers' zone along the right boards and sent a cross-ice pass to Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.), who redirected the puck on net. The rebound caromed off Hayden Hawkey's pads and onto Warren's stick for an easy score. Omaha struck back with a power-play tally with 59 seconds remaining in the period.

Omaha claimed its first lead of the game at 16:06 of the second stanza before Kunin knotted the game at two at 9:50. Just after a U.S. power-play expired, Kunin took passes from Warren and Luke Kirwan (DeWitt, N.Y.) before sending a wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle that beat Hawkey high over his glove. Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) converted on a wraparound just 1:44 later to reclaim the lead for the U.S. Kirwan and Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) picked up helpers on the play.

The back-and-forth battle continued in the third period, when the Lancers again tied the game at 4:52. Kunin restaked the lead for the U.S., 4-3, with his second tally on the night at 8:33, burying a rebound that deflected off of a teammate's skate. Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and Fischer were credited with assists. Werenski iced the game with an empty-net goal with 32 seconds remaining, sealing the 5-3 victory. Bracco and Kirwan assisted on the final score.

Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) made 23 saves for Team USA in the win, while Hawkey kicked out 24 shots for Omaha in the loss.

The U.S. National Under-17 Team is back in action Friday (March 21) as they take on the Youngstown Phantoms in Ohio. Puck drop is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. EDT as the Phantoms welcome area schools for a "School Day Game".

Notes

Team USA outshot Omaha, 28-26 ... Jeremy Bracco is currently on a six-game USHL point streak, dating back to Feb. 14. The forward has two goals and nine assists in that span. Bracco leads all U.S. National Under-17 Team players in points (8-22) versus USHL squads ... Jordan Greenway is on a four-game point streak, totaling three goals and two assists ... Luke Kirwan also has a four-game point streak. Kirwan has three goals and four assists dating back to March 1 ... Zach Werenski has five points (3-2) in the past two contests ... Follow the NTDP on Twitter and like us 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.

Three Stars of the Game

1st Star
Lincoln Stars
Jacob Nehama (21 saves)

2nd Star
Lincoln Stars
​Brandon Smith (3 goals)

3rd Star
U.S. National Under-17 Team
​Zach Werenski (2 goals, 1 assist)

Stars of the Game

1st Star
U.S. National Under-17 Team
Nicholas Boka

2nd Star
U.S. National Under-17 Team
Brendan Warren (1 goal, 1 assist)

3rd Star
U.S. National Under-17 Team
​Zach Werenski (1 goal, 1 assist)

Tag(s): News  Teams  Under-17 Team Home  U.S. National Under-17 Team