Muskegon, MI- Team USA U17 held on to beat the Muskegon Lumberjacks Saturday night in a shootout, earning a split in the weekend series. Danil Gushchin stole the show, scoring a highlight-reel, lacrosse-style goal in the second that will be seen around the world.
The first period started in the wrong direction at 2:40 when USA’s Cruz Lucius took the lead early on a toe drag goal to get the U17s ahead 1-0 less than three minutes in. The U17s continued to control the pace of the first as USA’s Seamus Casey would use his teammates to screen Jan Skorpik, scoring the Americans’ second straight goal and making it 2-0 at 7:28. Muskegon would have a number of offensive chances late in the frame, but couldn’t capitalize despite outshooting Team USA 9-7.
In the second, Gushchin would read a point pass between two USA defensemen, pick it off, and score a breakaway goal. His thirteenth of the season cut the USA lead to 2-1 at 6:59 in the second period.
Three minutes later, during four on four play, the U17’s Frank Nazar III potted his eighth of the year to retake the two-goal lead making it 3-1 Team USA. Muskegon would roar back when Gushchin scored a remarkable lacrosse-style goal to get Muskegon within one at 18:00. In the waning moments of the second, Jacob Guevin would stuff home a rebound, tying the game 3-3 at 19:27 of the second.
The third period would be back and forth hockey with Muskegon getting chances early, but the pace of the game would shift to favor the U17s, culminating with a stuff-in goal by Logan Cooley at 11:48 in the third period.
Bradley Marek- the late game hero- struck again; this time on a tip-in that equalized the game 4-4 at 16:44. Muskegon would get a late power play chance but USA net minder Dylan Silverstein stood tall, sending the game to overtime.
The Lumberjacks would dominate overtime with an onslaught of chances, with the best opportunity coming from Cam Berg who rang one off the post. Despite all of this, a shootout was needed to decide the game.
Both teams would score once in their first three shots, but Team USA took the 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth. Muskegon’s fourth shooter, Berg, would hit the post again to end the shootout and give Team USA the extra point.
The Lumberjacks host the Chicago Steel on January 29th at 7pm EST and will travel to Chicago for the remainder of their three in three in Chicago. Those games on the 30th and 31st at 8:05pm and 4:05pm respectively.
Lumberjacks Goal Scorers: Gushchin (13,14), Guevin (4), Marek (7)
Lumberjacks Assists: Marek (6), Cristophe Tellier (14), Cameron Berg (16), Quinn Hutson (7), Guevin (15)