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U.S. U-17 Select Team Tops Czech Republic, 5-4

08/12/2015, 11:00am EDT
By USAHockey.com

Team USA wins its first game of U-17 Five Nations

AROSA, Switzerland – The U.S. Under-17 Select Team fought back from multiple two-goal deficits en route to a 5-4 win against the Czech Republic in its opening match of the 2015 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Arosa, Switzerland.

"Penalties hurt us early on, but we stayed composed and tried not to stray from the game plan," said Pat Boller (Queens, N.Y.), head coach of the U.S. Under-17 Select Team. "As the game progressed, we played more in their end and drew power plays of our own. We were able to capitalize on those opportunities. It was a team effort, and the entire team contributed to the victory."

The Czech Republic scored twice less than a minute apart at 9:12 and 9:49 to put the U.S. behind by two goals midway through the opening period.

Brannon McManus (Newport Beach, Calif.) cut the Czech Republic's lead in half when he scored a shorthanded goal off a feed from Sasha Chmelevski (Northville, Mich.) at 14:05. With 2:06 remaining in the first period, Jacob Tortora (Victor, N.Y.) stole the puck from a Czech player, walked in and scored on Czech Republic goaltender Thomas Vomacka to send the game into the first intermission tied 2-2.

The U.S. found itself trailing by two goals again after the Czech Republic beat Cayden Primeau (Voorhees, N.J.) on a shot from the slot at 1:10 and netted a power-play goal at 6:25 of the second period.

At 7:38, Jack Rathbone (West Roxbury, Mass.) responded for Team USA with a rocket off a feed from Isaac Johnson (Andover, Minn.) to make it 4-3.

The U.S. took advantage of a power-play opportunity early in the third period when Chmelevski roofed a short-side goal on a pass from Connor Mayer (Champlin, Minn.) at 2:31.

Mick Messner (Madison, Wis.) converted on a three-on-two play just as a Team USA power play expired to net the game-winning goal at 11:42.

The U.S. Under-17 Select Team will continue competition in the 2015 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament when it takes on Slovakia at 9:30 a.m. ET on Friday, Aug. 14.

Notes: Full statistics from today's game can be found here … The 2015 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament includes teams from Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and the U.S. 

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