The Chargers battled with the best of America’s young hockey talent, but fell 2-1 in overtime against the U.S. National Under-18 Team in a Saturday exhibition game at the Von Braun Center.
Matthew Tkachuk, son of NHL 500-goal scorer Keith, beat UAH goaltender Matt Larose with 40 seconds left in overtime after the Chargers had a couple of chances at victory of their own.
Team USA outshot the Chargers 39-17, but most of that advantage was built in a dominating second period (17-1). Outside of the second, Team USA outshot UAH 22-16.
The Chargers struck first seven minutes in. Frank Misuraca’s shot from the right point rebounded off Team USA goaltender Mike Lackey right to Brennan Saulnier at the doorstep. Saulnier wristed the puck past Lackey for the 1-0 Charger lead.
UAH had opportunities to expand the lead with a two-man advantage in the middle of the first, and Team USA had three power play changes themselves, but neither team could convert.
Charger starting goaltender Carmine Guerriero stopped all six shots he faced.
The second period was all Team USA. The Under-18s got the first 13 shots on goal before Jeff Vanderlugt finally broke the streak with about seven minutes left in the frame. It was UAH’s only shot of the period to Team USA’s 17.
But Team USA could only get one goal on UAH goaltender Matt Larose, who came in for Guerriero in the second. Troy Terry, who has committed to Denver, beat Larose as he drive through the slot to tie the game at 1-1 at the 11:50 mark.
Larose finished with 31 saves on 33 shots in 45 minutes of work. Lackey played the whole game and made 16 saves for Team USA.
UAH and Team USA face off again Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at the VBC. The first 1,000 fans get a free UAH hockey team photo.
Notes: Ben Reinhardt returned to the UAH lineup after missing 10 games due to injury. … James Block and Bryan Siersma saw their first action for UAH. … UAH is now 0-6-1 in exhibition games against the U.S. Under-18 Team.