Monday, March 13, 2006

IceDiggers downed in Ann Arbor Sunday

After dropping the first two games of their three game weekend series with the Alpena IceDiggers, the U.S. National Under-17 Team rebounded Sunday afternoon to defeat Alpena, 6-1, at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. The win keeps the National Team in first place in the North American Hockey League’s North Division and moves Team USA just four points away from clinching the division title.

Team USA forward James vanRiemsdyk opened the scoring with a beautiful backhand goal setup by Philip McRae. The goal, along with defense, gave Team USA a 1-0 lead after the first period of play.

At 4:25 of the second period, McRae added a power-play goal as he beat Alpena goaltender Peter O’Hara with a slap shot from the top of the right circle. Joseph Lavin and vanRiemsdyk added assists on the goal. Team USA took control of the game when Justin Vaive and vanRiemsdyk added tallies just 57 seconds apart to put the National Team ahead 4-0 at the 12:57 mark of the period. Ryan Hayes added his first goal of the game, and 30th of the season, on a picture-perfect pass from Ian Cole at 15:54 of the period to put Team USA ahead 5-0 heading into the third.

In the third period, Steve Culbertson put Alpena on the board 4:16 into the frame. Team USA responded with a tally from Greg Squires. The goal, which was set up by Nigel Williams and vanRiemsdyk, capped the day’s scoring and put Team USA ahead.,6-1.

Strong defensive play from Team USA limited Alpena to just 14 shots on the day, compared to 38 for the U.S. Brad Phillips was strong in goal for Team USA stopping 13 of the 14 shots he faced. O'Hara made 32 saves for Alpena.

The U.S. National Under-17 Team travels to face the Cleveland Barons for a pair of games Mar. 18-19. The IceDiggers are in Mahoning Valley this Friday and Saturday.

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