BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The Central Illinois Flying Aces couldn’t hold off the high-flying offense of the U.S. National Under-18 Team, falling 11 to 2.
Less than a minute into the game, Jack Hughes shot the puck, but it was blocked. It popped right back out to him and he scored. Still early in the first, Alex Turcotte tallied a goal for Team USA with a shot over the glove.
Central Illinois got on the board midway through the first. Chase Foley (Mendota Heights, Minn.) made an outlet pass to Cal Kiefiuk (Macomb, Mich.) in the neutral zone. Kiefiuk passed to Trevor Janicke (Maple Grove, Minn.) who scored five-hole from high in the zone for his sixteenth of the season.
Team USA restored their two-goal lead at 13:45 in the first with a tip in front from Sean Farrell. They opened the third period with two goals. Matthew Boldy scored the first when he attempted to center the puck and it banked off a Central Illinois player and into the net. The second came from Hughes when he found a loose puck in the slot and scored his second of the night.
Bradley Marek (Big Rapids, Mich.) scored the Flying Aces’ second goal of the night early in the second. He won a face off back to Jon Panisa (Irvine, Calif.) who quickly passed to Foley. Foley drove behind the net and slid the puck through the crease to Marek who deflected it past the USA goaltender.
Team USA scored four unanswered goals to finish the second. Judd Caufield scored off the rebound after a shot had originally gone off the post. Boldy scored his second of the net on the third rebound off a flurry of shots from the slot midway through the second period. Trevor Zegras scored USA’s eighth of the game off a one-timer from the right circle. Late in the third, Cole Caufield tipped in a shot from the point.
The Under-18 team finished with two third period goals. The first came from Caufield when he received a pass to the slot on the power play. Hughes finished off his hat trick on a breakaway late in the third.
The Flying Aces play a three-game weekend this weekend. Friday, March 1st, Central Illinois hosts Cedar Rapids. On Saturday and Sunday, they return to Green Bay for a two-game series against the Gamblers.
For tickets or more information, call the Flying Aces at 309-434-2980 or visit www.flyingaceshockey.com.
ABOUT THE FLYING ACES
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. 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.