Under-17 Team falls to Germany at WHC
The U.S. National Under-17 Team filed a 44-24 shot advantage, but Philipp Grubauer's 42-save performance backstopped Germany to a 4-2 win in Team USA's final preliminary-round game of the 2008 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Ontario. Jeremy Morin (Auburn, N.Y.) and Chris Brown (Flower Mound, Texas) each scored for the United States.
Germany went ahead 1-0 at the 15:05 mark of the first period when a Tom Kuhnhackl shot from the left corner boards bounced off the skate of a Team USA defensemen into the back of the net.
Morin put Team USA on the board a little over a minute later with his team-leading sixth goal of the tournament. After gaining possession of a pass from Nick Mattson (Chaska, Minn.) on the left wing, Morin skated in all alone to the right side of the net. He then slid the puck underneath the back of Grubauer.
Team USA took its first lead of the game at 9:02 of the second stanza as Brown unloaded a blistering shot from the right faceoff circle that beat Grubauer low on the glove side. David Valek (Orem, Utah) and Richie Crowley (Canton, Mass.) each assisted on the goal.
Marco Habermann provided the equalizer for the Germans with 3:22 gone in the final period. Habermann skated the puck behind the Team USA net and snuck a backhanded shot through the legs of goaltender Adam Murray (Anchorage, Alaska).
Germany grabbed a 3-2 at 13:34 of the stanza, thanks to a shorthanded goal from Norman Hauner. Hauner finished off a 2-on-1 break by putting a shot up high past Murray on the glove side.
Team USA pulled Murray from the net with 58 seconds left in regulation, but Kuhnhackl sealed the game for Germany with an empty-net goal 10 seconds later.
Murray finished with 24 saves for the United States.
Team USA finished 3-1-0 in the preliminary round of the 2008 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and secured a berth in the semifinals on Thursday (Jan. 3), where it will take on either Finland or Canada's Team Pacific at the John Labatt Centre. The puck will drop at 7:30 p.m. ET.
NOTES: Cam Fowler (Farmington Hills, Mich.) was recognized as Team USA's Player of the Game ... Ryan Bourque (Boxford, Mass.) is Team USA's captain for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, while Richie Crowley and David Valek are alternate captains ... The third-place game of the 2008 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will be televised live by Rogers (Canada) Television at 1 p.m. ET Friday (Jan. 4) ... TSN will broadcast the championship game of the tournament live at 7:30 p.m. ET Friday (Jan. 4).