Three first period goals gave the Waterloo Black Hawks the early surge necessary for a wire-to-wire win Friday against the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-17s in Plymouth, Michigan.
The Black Hawks’ early goals came shorthanded, even-strength, and on the power play in that order. Moments after the first NTDP power play began, Matt Koopman was off to the races up the right wing boards and lifted a wrister to the top corner. The shorthanded goal came at 7:33.
Ethan Szmagaj set up the even-strength tally out of the right corner four minutes later. Szmagaj connected with Griffin Ness coming up the slot, and the Hawks forward knocked his chance across the goal line. Joe Cassetti added one more on a power play redirection with 20.8 seconds to go. A shot from the right circle by Vladislav Firstov hit Cassetti and bounced off his midsection and between the pipes.
The U-17s rallied in the second, pulling a goal back by the time the frame came to an end. During the opening minute of the second, Chase Yoder slipped behind the Hawks defense to score on a partial breakaway.
Koopman reestablished a two-goal lead with his second score of the night at 16:10. The veteran went to the net to knock in the rebound of Matej Blumel’s shot. However, the NTDP drew back within two as 1:03 remained, when Landon Slaggert scored shorthanded on a setup by Matthew Beniers.
Waterloo established a three-goal lead one final time at 7:21 of the third during a power play. Two U-17 defenders collided near their bench, allowing Blumel all the room he needed to step into the offensive zone, across the slot, and lift a backhander into an open side.
The final score of the night came at 14:52 with Waterloo unable to clear the zone. The puck found its way to the slot, where Jacob Truscott lifted it over Jared Moe’s left shoulder. Despite a sequence of power plays and the NTDP spending the last two-and-a-half minutes with an empty net and extra attacker, neither team was able to dent the net again.
Moe made 27 saves for the win.
Saturday night, the Black Hawks stay in the same location, but the opposition changes. The Hawks will meet the older half of the National Team Development Program in a matchup versus the Under-18s. The puck drops at 6 p.m. Central Time.
Waterloo 3 1 1 - 5
Team USA 0 2 1 - 3
1st Period-1, Waterloo, Koopman 6 (Bengtsson), 7:32 (SH). 2, Waterloo, Ness 8 (Szmagaj), 11:27. 3, Waterloo, Cassetti 4 (Firstov, Szmagaj), 19:40 (PP). Penalties-Paul Wat (hooking), 7:25; Faber Usa (interference), 12:16; Lamppa Wat (interference), 12:57; Peterson Usa (roughing), 18:10.
2nd Period-4, Team USA, Yoder 3 (Faber, Slaggert), 0:23. 5, Waterloo, Koopman 7 (Blümel, Engum), 16:35. 6, Team USA, Slaggert 3 (Beniers), 18:57 (SH EN). Penalties-Caponi Wat (elbowing), 0:49; Palmer Wat (10-minute misconduct), 0:49; Smilanic Usa (interference), 2:31; Bordeleau Usa (checking from behind), 17:42.
3rd Period-7, Waterloo, Blümel 14 7:21 (PP). 8, Team USA, Truscott 1 (Berard), 14:52. Penalties-Marooney Wat (tripping), 5:05; Peterson Usa (high sticking), 6:27; Ness Wat (tripping), 8:57; Yoder Usa (high sticking), 11:10; Beniers Usa (tripping), 16:09; Drkulec Wat (tripping), 17:07; Sorensen Wat (roughing), 17:50; Slaggert Usa (roughing), 17:50; Blümel Wat (roughing dbl minor), 19:10; Bordeleau Usa (roughing dbl minor), 19:10.
Shots on Goal-Waterloo 6-12-7-25. Team USA 4-10-16-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Waterloo 2 / 5; Team USA 0 / 5.
Goalies-Waterloo, Moe 6-4-2-1 (29 shots-27 saves). Team USA, Commesso 0-4-0-1 (12 shots-9 saves); Grannan 1-3-0-1 (13 shots-11 saves).
Linesmen-Kilian McNamara, Logan Wetekamp.