BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The Central Illinois Flying Aces took an early third period lead, but the Team USA under-17 squad came from behind for a 4-2 win on Saturday night at Grossinger Motors Arena.
After a scoreless first period, Team USA (38-14-1, 77 points) struck 2:42 into the second period when Owen Lindmark pushed the puck inside the left post in traffic with assists handed to John Farinacci and Erik Middendorf.
The Flying Aces (13-36-5, 31 points) tied the contest with 3:33 left in the middle frame when Brady Meyer (University of Minnesota Duluth) deflected a Brady Smith (University of Wisconsin) wrister with the second assist given to Jeremy Davidson (University of Massachusetts).
The Aces took a 2-1 lead with 12:51 left in the third period when Bradley Marek converted a feed from behind the net from Nick Capone (University of Maine) to the deep slot, with the secondary helper awarded to Jacob Olbing.
Team USA knotted the score at 2-2 with 8:37 left on a running drive down the slot from Michael Gildon assisted by Danny Weight and Patrick Moynahan.
The U17s grabbed a 3-2 lead just 1:16 later when Henry Thrun converted a rebound from the left circle. John Beecher and Matthew Boldy assisted. Boldy sealed the contest with an empty-net goal with 46.6 seconds left.
Drew DeRidder took the win in goal with 21 saves. Zach Stejskal suffered the loss with 13 stops. The Aces were scoreless on their only power play while Team USA went 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
The Flying Aces host the Chicago Steel on Friday for a 7:07 p.m. face-off at Grossinger Motors Arena before visiting Green Bay on Saturday.
Known as the Bloomington Thunder from 2014-17, the newly-rebranded Central Illinois Flying Aces are a member of the top junior hockey league in the United States, the United States Hockey League (USHL). The only Tier I junior hockey league in the country, the USHL has become renowned for developing the next stars of both Division I college hockey and the NHL. At the start of the 2017-18 season, there were 128 active USHL alumni on NHL rosters, with at least one USHL alumnus playing for each of the 31 teams. In total, there have been 253 USHL players who have gone onto NHL careers, including Patrick Sharp, David Backes, Johnny Gaudreau, and Joe Pavelski, among others. The players in the USHL range in age from 16-20 years old, 95 percent of whom will go on to play college hockey at the Division I level. For more information, visit flyingaceshockey.com or ushl.com or download the USHL Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.