UAH showed the could battle with the best talent in America for two days. Although these were exhibition games, the results were still two heartbreaking defeats.
Jeremy Bracco scored the game-winner on a breakaway with 26 seconds left, then got the empty net goal to seal the deal with nine seconds to go to give Team USA a 4-2 victory over the Chargers to finish a two-game exhibition sweep at the Von Braun Center on Sunday.
Team USA outshot UAH 43-13, but the final result was in doubt for about the entire game, similar to Team USA’s 2-1 overtime win on Saturday.
Like Saturday, UAH scored the first goal of the contest. This time, Brandon Carlson did the honors during the Chargers’ second power play, putting in a rebound past Team USA goaltender Luke Opilka at the 8:15 mark. Alex Carpenter and Frank Misuraca, who fired the initial shot from the right point, got the assists.
Another similarity to Friday night’s game was Team USA’s dominance of the second period. Team USA outshot the Chargers 17-3 in the second after leading 17-1 the night before.
Fortunately, Team USA could not parlay it into a lead. They were able to tie the game at 1 on Colin White’s tally at 4:12.
At 9:45, on only the Chargers’ second shot of the period, Alex Carpenter ripped one from near the left circle, beating Opilka on the top left corner to give UAH a 2-1 advantage. He was assisted by Brennan Saulnier and Matt Salhany.
Just 52 seconds later, Team USA knotted the game at 2 as Jack Roslovic was able to shove the puck past UAH goaltender Matt Larose.
The Chargers put the body on Team USA to start the third, but Cody Marooney had a slashing penalty at 9:52 — necessary to stop Team USA from taking the lead.
UAH killed the ensuing power play, but Team USA used it to gain momentum in the Charger end. UAH did not have many chances the rest of the way.
With 1:30 to go in regulation, Larose stopped Brendan Warren’s breakaway opporunity. Then another defensive lapse gave Bracco his own breakaway, which he converted to give Team USA the 3-2 lead.
UAH immediately pulled Larose for the extra attacker, but Bracco the puck and scored the empty-netter for the final result.
Larose finished another solid outing with 39 saves. He stopped 31 of 33 shots on Saturday when he played the second period on.
Next week, the Chargers begin the stretch run in the race for a WCHA playoff berth. UAH, currently tied with Lake Superior State for eighth place in the league, visits second-place Michigan Tech on Friday and Saturday.
UAH returns home on February 20 and 21 to face Ferris State.
Notes: UAH stopped all three Team USA power plays on Sunday, and all eight for the weekend. UAH was 1-for-5 with the power play for the series. … UAH is now 0-7-1 all-time in exhibitions with the U.S. National Under-18 Team.