PRIEVIDZA, Slovakia – Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) scored one goal and added two assists and Luke Kirwan (Dewitt, N.Y.) and Brody Stevens (Ann Arbor, Mich.) each notched two goals, as the U.S. National Under-17 Team downed Slovakia, 8-2, here this evening at Prievidza Arena. The game served as a pre-tournament contest before the Four Nations Tournament opens Friday (Nov. 8).
“We competed at a high level tonight from start to finish after a long day of travel,” said Don Granato, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team. “We now have a day off tomorrow to prepare for a tough matchup versus Switzerland on Friday.”
Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) opened the scoring for Team USA, connecting with Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale, Ill.) at 7:36 of the first period. Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) doubled the U.S. lead at 14:24. Nicholas Boka (Plymouth, Mich.) picked up an assist on the play. Bracco pushed the U.S. lead to three goals just 36 seconds later, capitalizing on the first power-play opportunity of the night. Grant Gabriele (Brighton, Mich.) earned a helper on the tally.
Stevens and Kirwan accounted for all four U.S. goals in the second stanza. Stevens struck first just 2:22 after the puck dropped, combining with Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.) to find the back of the net. Kirwan’s power-play strike at 5:57 gave the U.S. a 6-0 lead, with Bracco and Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.) collecting assists. Slovakia ended the U.S. shutout at 7:11, but Kirwan answered 2:45 later and Stevens buried his second of the contest at 12:06 to send Team USA into the third period leading 7-1.
Slovakia inched closer in the final frame at 17:40, but Brendan Warren (Carelton, Mich.) secured the 8-2 victory for the U.S. at the 18:36 marker. Bracco and Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) added their second assists of the day on the final score.
Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) stopped four of the five shots he faced in the win, while Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) kicked out eight of the nine attempts against him.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team will open tournament play on Friday, Nov. 8, versus Switzerland The game will be held at Prievidza Arena at 7:30 a.m. EST.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)