It was a tough opening weekend for USA's Under-17 and Under-18 squads, with both teams falling to their opponents.
The Under-17 team kicked off the USHL season with back-to-back matches against the Chicago Steel. On Friday, the visiting Steel jumped out front with a 3-0 lead in the first period, only to be answered by Tyler Biggs ('Cincinnati, Ohio) lone goal for the U.S. in the second. The U.S. was unable to put anymore on the board, and with two more goals from Chicago (one an empty net) fell 5-1 at home. Netminder Matt McNeely (Burnsville, Minn.) had 29 saves on the night.
The two teams returned to the ice Saturday night in Bensenville, Ind., as Team USA looked to tie up the series. The Steel racked up 5 goals in the first period with not so much as a peep from the U.S. Chicago made it 6-0 halfway through the second, and less than a minute later the U.S. was on the board with a power play goal from Zac Larraza (Scottsdale, Ariz.). A few seconds later Matt Van Voorhis (Edina, Minn.) made it 6-2, and Alexx Privitera (Old Tappan, N.J.) gave the U.S. a fighting chance with the team's third goal of the period. However, the Steel's Sahir Gill kept the U.S. at bay with another goal to make it 7-3.
Mark Anthoine boosted the Steel's score in the third with a power-play goal, makin it 8-3. Dan Carlson (Corcoran, Minn.) answered back for the U.S. 1:38 later when his shot beat netminder Nick Pisellini. The Steel made it 9-4 after a goal off the stick of Jake Chelios at 16:10. Soon after, Boyd tallied for Team USA. With 1:25 remaining in regulation, Alex Carpenter scored his second goal of the night to account for the 10-5 final.
As for the Under-18 team, they opened their season at the University of Michigan Saturday night. Despite goals by defensemen Jon Merrill (Brighton, Mich.) and Adam Clendening (Niagara Falls, N.Y.), it wasn't enough to edge past the Wolverines.
Michigan knocked in two goals early in the first followed by a goal from the U.S.'s Merrill. With 34 seconds left in the second, Michigan put one past U.S. netminder Jack Campbell (Port Huron, Mich.) making it 3-1.
Michigan's Hagelin slipped the rebounded puck in or a power-play goal to make it 4-1 in the third. Clendening took a pass from Brandon Saad (Gibsonia, Pa.) and wired the puck into the upper-left corner of the net with just 47 seconds to play to account for the 4-2 final.
Both teams return to the ice Friday Oct. 9. The Under-17 team will play in the Ann Arbor Ice Cube against defending United States Hockey League regular-season champion Green Bay at 7:05 p.m. EDT. The Under-18 team will face No. 12 Boston College at Conte Forum at 7 p.m. EDT.
For detailed game recaps, visit www.usahockey.com