Men's Hockey Proves Mettle Versus USNTDP Under-18 Team in 2-1 Overtime Loss

Junior Matt McNair had two assists in Adrian's 3-2 loss at Norwich Friday. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)
Junior Matt McNair had two assists in Adrian's 3-2 loss at Norwich Friday. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)

PLYMOUTH, Mich.--Oliver Wahlstrom scored his team-leading 14th goal of the season in overtime to lift the US National Team Development Program Under-18 squad to a 2-1 exhibition victory over visiting Adrian College at USA Hockey Arena on Wednesday evening.

Wahlstrom collected a loose puck near the left-side boards, circled around the face-off circle and then snapped a screen shot over the right shoulder of freshman Nikita Babintsev for the game-winner with 2 minutes and 33 seconds left in the 3-on-3, extra five-minute session.

Just 14 seconds into overtime, Adrian had a terrific look at the potential game-winning goal when senior captain Mathew Thompson one-timed a left-wing pass from sophomore Dino Balsamo that was stopped by the outstretched right leg pad of Drew DeRidder. DeRidder ended up with 31 saves on 32 shots he faced.

Midway through the third period, the Bulldogs thought they had gone ahead 2-1 but junior Trevor Boyd's rebound goal was disallowed after video review. Game officials had ruled that Boyd touched the puck sent in by sophomore Joey Colatarci from the right point with a high stick before taking a short feed from Thompson near the top of the goal crease. 

Sophomore Matt McNair staked the Bulldogs to a 1-0 lead at the 15:12 mark of the first period. Senior assistant captain Taylor McCloy circled around the right face off circle before dishing to classmate Kyle Brothers below the goal line, flipping a saucer pass into the center of the slot where McNair batted the puck in mid-air past DeRidder.

Babintsev, who took the loss, made 16 saves on 17 shots he faced while senior Dillon Kelley had 17 stops in 18 shots as the starter for the Bulldogs, who killed off all four of the Americans power play opportunities.

Team USA got the equalizer in the second period when Wahlstrom scored his first of two goals on the evening with a shot in the high slot that found its way through traffic and past Kelley.

In a back and forth game, both teams had solid scoring opportunities that were turned aside by the goalies. Adrian sophomore Ryan Cusin was stopped by DeRidder with his glove on a partial breakaway to open the second period. Wahlstrom was stymied by Kelley to keep Team USA U-18s from taking a 1-0 lead. After an AC penalty kill, Team USA had a huge chance to go up 2-1 when Tyler Weiss one-timed a pass from the left wing but he was denied by Babintsev with the glove moving to his left.

Per NCAA rules, results and statistics from this contest do not count on Adrian's historical record. NTDP leads the all-time series 7-3, including a sweep of the season series (Team USA also won 4-2 at AC's Arrington Ice Arena in October). Adrian is ranked No. 2 in both NCAA Division III national polls.

The USA Hockey NTDP team is based here in Plymouth and currently has 62 alumni on National Hockey League rosters. This current version of the team has 15 NHL Draft prospects and every player will go at least NCAA Division I.

After Thanksgiving, Adrian resumes regular season action at home on Saturday (7:05 p.m.) against NCAA Division III newcomer Trine University in a non-conference game between Northern Collegiate Hockey Association opponents. Video l Live stats l Tickets

#GoldStandard #AdrianBulldogs #GoDawgs #GDTBAB