YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.) and Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) had one goal and one assist each, but the U.S. National Under-17 Team was topped by the Youngstown Phantoms, 7-3, here this morning at the Covelli Centre. The early start time allowed local children to attend the game as part of planned school field trips.
The Phantoms opened the scoring just 1:38 into the first frame on the power play. Team USA's deficit widened at 14:09 as Youngstown potted its second goal with the man advantage before the U.S. surrendered a third tally at 15:39.
Youngstown scored on its first shot of the second period, prompting Team USA to relieve Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) in favor of Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.). The Phantoms' lead was pushed to five goals at 11:30 before Fischer found the back of the net for the U17s with a power-play tally. Werenski and Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) assisted on the score. Eighteen seconds later, Youngstown responded to take a 6-1 advantage after two periods.
Youngstown potted its seventh goal at 1:56 and Team USA notched its second at 10:57 of the final frame. Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) beat Phantoms netminder Sean Romeo for the U.S. Fischer and Caleb Jones (Frisco, Texas) collected helpers on the play. The Under-17 Team saw multiple power-play opportunities in the back half of the stanza, capitalizing once during a five-on-three situation with a Werenski one-timer. Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) and Luke Kirwan (DeWitt, N.Y.) earned assists, but it was not enough as the U.S. fell, 7-3.
Opilka and Lackey combined to stop 21 shots in the loss for Team USA, while Romeo kicked out 39 shots for Youngstown.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team will next face the Muskegon Lumberjacks in a match-up with playoff implications. Currently Team USA sits just four points behind Muskegon for the final postseason berth from the United States Hockey League's Eastern Conference.
Team USA outshot Youngstown, 42-28 ... The U.S. National Under-17 Team finishes its season series with Youngstown at 2-2-0 (W-L-OTL). The home team won each contest ... Jeremy Bracco extended his USHL point streak to seven games dating back to Feb. 14. The forward has two goals and 10 assists over that span ... Luke Kirwan extended his USHL point streak as well. The forward has three goals and five assists in five games ... Zach Werenski has seven points (4-3) in the past three contests ... Christian Fischer has four points (1-3) in the past two games ... 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.
Maxim Letunov (2 goals)
Luke Stork (2 goals)
Kyle Connor (1 goal, 1 assist)