FUSSEN, Germany - Forward Alex Gacek (Dracut, Mass.) and defenseman Jordan Schmaltz (Verona, Wis.) netted a goal each, but the U.S. Under-17 Select Team fell to Slovakia, 3-2, at the 2009 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament here today.
After U.S. netminder Brendan Jensen (El Granada, Calif.) turned aside a penalty shot less than eight minutes into the game, Slovakia tallied a power-play marker at 9:42 of the first period to take a 1-0 lead.
Team USA responded at 2:46 of the second period when Gacek fired a wrist shot from Cason Hohmann (Plymouth, Mich.) over the goaltender's blocker.
Slovakia took a 2-1 advantage at 11:10 of the second period before Schmaltz tied the game six minutes later. The forward intercepted a pass in the neutral zone, skated down the left boards and drove to the net, where he stuffed the puck inside the near post.
Slovakia scored once more at 9:29 of the third period to account for the 3-2 final.
Team USA will play Switzerland in its second game on Thursday (Aug. 20) at 1:30 p.m. EDT in Fussen, Germany.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)