FUSSEN, Germany - Alex Gacek (Dracut, Mass.) recorded a hat trick and Shane McColgan (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) netted two goals as the U.S. Under-17 Select Team defeated Germany, 9-6, at the 2009 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament here today. Team USA finished the tournament in third place with a 2-0-0-2 record.
Christian Horn (Plymouth, Minn.) put Team USA on the board at 2:17 of the first period when he knocked in a rebound past the German goaltender. Cason Hohmann (Plymouth, Mich.) and Gacek collected assists on the play.
After Germany tied the game at 4:00, Gacek gave the U.S. a 2-1 advantage at 12:14 of the opening frame. McColgan sent a pass to Gacek who slammed the puck into the net for the power-play marker.
The U.S. scored twice more in the first period. Hohmann picked up his second assist of the night by setting up Brian Cooper (Anchorage, Alaska) who sent a wrist shot off the netminder's shoulder and into the back of the net. Jordan Schmaltz (Verona, Wis.) gave the U.S. a 4-1 lead heading into the first intermission after beating the goaltender high to the glove side. Garrett Haar (Huntington Beach, Calif.) also picked up an assist on the play.
At 2:15 of the second period, Gacek netted his second goal of the game to give the U.S. a 5-1 advantage. Horn picked up the loose puck in the corner and fired a pass to Gacek who beat the goaltender on the stick side.
Germany closed the gap to 5-3 before Horn scored a power-play goal from Connor Murphy (Dublin, Ohio) with 34 seconds remaining in the second period.
The United States and Germany alternated goals in the third period. After Germany scored at 6:39, McColgan's rebound goal 46 seconds later widened Team USA's lead to 7-4. Murphy and Seth Swenson (Parker, Colo.) collected assists on the play.
Germany answered with another goal before McColgan potted his second tally of the game from Haar with a wrist shot that beat the goaltender to the short side at 12:37.
After Germany scored once more, Gacek completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal with 55 seconds remaining in the third period to account for the 9-6 final.
U.S. netminder Jay Williams (McLean, Va.) recorded 32 saves in the winning effort.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com)