Ice Tops Team USA 5-1
Scoring five goals usually does the trick for the Indiana Ice. When Indy faced off with Team USA U-17's Friday evening, the Americans led the USHL in goals scored (127), assists (210), and total points (337). The developmental squad out of Ann Arbor also lead the league in power play conversion (24.8%).
The Ice put the defensive clamps down on the U-17's with a near perfect penalty kill and a solid goaltending effort from Jason Pawlowski to skate off with a 5-1 victory at Pan Am Pavillion. Brian Pinho chipped in with a two goal and one assist effort and Mitch Hults added a goal and a helper to lead a strong overall performance.
"It was nice to a nice personal performance but more importantly we are getting back to playing our best team hockey," commented Pinho. "It is important to play strong defense against Team USA because they are so talented. If you make a mistake, they can bury it." Pinho scored his first of the evening 15:43 after the opening puck drop. The forward used his superior speed when he picked up the puck at his blue line and skated in alone on the U-17's net and buried his 7th goal of the season.
Indiana dented the net twice in the second period but the penalty kill became the key factor in the victory. The Ice were whistled for a pair of penalties which forced them to skate two-men short for 1:16 of the middle frame and had to withstand another visitor power play at 13:20 of the second stanza. Team USA did not manage a shot on goal in either power play.
"Coach Brown preaches forcing the man with the puck as much as possible," stated Hults. "You attack the man with the puck to disrupt the power play." Hults potted his goal at 2:15 of the decisive period. The scoring sequence began when Pinho put a shot on goal. Austin Kosack pushed the rebound over to Hults and the winger lifted the puck over the pads of visitor goalie Luke Opilka.
Scott Conway extended his point streak to eight games when he jammed home a loose puck with 3:33 remaining in the second period. Denis Smirnov and Patrick Newell assisted on the goal which gave the hosts a 3-0 lead. Indiana skated to the second intermission holding a 3-1 lead after the American squad notched their only goal of the game at 18:38 of the period.
Indy added a pair of third period scores---a power play goal and Pinho's second of the contest. Vince Pedrie's blue line wrister at 3:16 beat Opilka with Joseph Sullivan providing the assist. Pinho scored his second of the night less than a minute later when his drag-move helped him score his 8th of the campaign. Hults and Josh Jacobs collaborated on the game's final goal at 4:03.
The action shifts to Bankers Life Fieldhouse Saturday as Indy hosts the Muskegon Lumberjacks at 7:05 pm.
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United States Hockey League Stories from January 10, 2014
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- Stampede Rally, But Waterloo Too Much in Third Period as Herd Fall - Sioux Falls Stampede
- New Defender Sparks Saints to 3-1 Win at Des Moines - Dubuque Fighting Saints
- Ice Tops Team USA 5-1 - Indiana Ice
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