SAULT STE. MARIE, Ontario — Jonathan Gruden (Rochester, Mich.) scored the lone goal for the U.S. National Under-17 Team as the U.S. outshot Canada Red, 33-13, but fell 3-1 in a pre-tournament game ahead of the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge here tonight at the Essar Centre.
"We saw lots of good stuff out there tonight," said Danton Cole, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team. "I thought the guys played hard and executed a lot of things. We couldn't find the back of the net but we learned a lot and will take that into Sunday."
At 17:50 of the opening period, Team USA was whistled for a penalty. Joel Farabee (Cicero, N.Y.) and Jake Wise (North Andover, Mass.) broke through on a shorthanded two-on-one, but Wise’s shot was denied by goaltender Carl Stankowski.
The period closed at 0-0 despite the U.S. outshooting Canada Red, 10-4.
The Canadians opened the scoring 1:16 into the second frame with a tally by Benoit-Olivier Groulx, but Gruden erased the deficit just 1:06 later after he skated through multiple defensemen and picked the top left corner of the net.
At 13:09, Canada Red’s Connor Roberts put away a loose puck in the crease to regain the lead. Another marker with 3:31 on the clock put Canada Red up 3-1 heading into the final frame.
Team USA held Canada Red without a shot through the first half of the third period, but the U.S. couldn’t find the back of the net and the game ended at 3-1.
U.S. goaltenders Ryan Ullan (Hibbing, Minn.) and Keegan Karki (Sartell, Minn.) split time in net. Ullan made six stops in the first half of the game before Karki took over and finished with four saves.
Team USA will open preliminary round play when it faces the Czech Republic at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.
NOTES: Jonathan Gruden was named the U.S. Player of the Game … For more information on the U.S. National Under-17 Team competing at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, click here … The U.S. is competing in Group A with Canada Black, Canada White and the Czech Republic, while Group B includes Canada Red, Finland, Russia and Sweden … Follow @USAHockeyNTDP and @USAHockeyScores on Twitter for tournament updates and join the conversation on social media by using #WU17USA and #WorldU17 … Danton Cole (Pontiac, Mich.) is leading the U.S. National Under-17 Team in the event for the fourth time, having previously coached the U.S. to top-three finishes in each previous appearance. Joining Cole will be assistant coach Chris Luongo (Fraser, Mich.), goaltending coach Kevin Reiter (Pittsburgh, Pa.), intern assistant coach Mason Graddock (Stowe, Vt.) and development coach Sean Braziel (West Haven, Ct.).
All games will take place at the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Photos: Matt Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images