COMEBACK NOT IN THE CARDS AS ICE FALL TO TEAM USA, 6-4
A massive comeback effort was thwarted in the closing seconds of Tuesday’s game as the Indiana Ice fell to Team USA U18 6-4 in Ann Arbor, MI.
Drew Smolcynski recorded a pair of goals in the contest while Austin Ortega logged his second-consecutive multiple-point game with a pair of assists.
Indy surrendered four unanswered goals before responding with four lamp-lighters of their own in the second half of the tilt. The Ice also faced a staggering 50-17 shot deficit, with the visitors being held to a single-digit shot count in each of the three periods.
Team USA peppered Indy goaltender Dalton Izyk with 19 shots in the opening frame of the contest. The NTDP rattled off two goals off the tape of Tyler Kelleher and Shane Eiserman to enter the first intermission with a 2-0 lead.
It was after a second set of goals by the hosts when the game appeared to be in Team USA’s hands. Scores by Kevin Labanc and Evan Allen gave the NTDP a comfortable 4-0 lead.
Indy rattled off the first of four unanswered goals when Smolcynski took advantage of an interference call on Team USA to get on the board with just over 11 minutes left in the second period. Tyler Pham earned an assist on the play.
Smolcynski logged his second goal of the period when he took a feed from Ortega with 3:23 left in the middle stanza to cut Team USA’s lead in half at 4-2.
A 17-8 shot difference didn’t stop the Ice from evening the score at 4-4 in the first half of the period. Mikhail Plotnikov tallied his first goal of the season off a Zach Aman pass to cut NTDP’s lead down to a goals.
Ottawa Senators prospect Robbie Baillargeon evened the score 7:03 into the period for his second goal of the season. Ortega recorded his second assist of the night on the game-tying goal.
Team USA responded with intense pressure on Izyk, firing 12 shots on net in the final 12 minutes of play, lighting the lamp on two opportunities to finalize the score at 6-4.
Indy is on the road Friday against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders before returning to the “Circle City” for Saturday’s matchup with the Lincoln Stars from Pan Am Plaza. The puck is set to drop at 7:05 pm.