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College Hockey:
U.S. Under 18s Down RIT

Rochester Native Gionta Scores for NTDP in Exhibition

— The U.S. National Under 18 Development Team used its speed to control the important parts of the ice Friday and clogged RIT’s potent offense in a 4-1 exhibition victory.

The first period was very even in all aspects. RIT took the game up a step physically, but the youngsters of the U.S. Development team didn’t shy away at all. They were very good at clogging up the slot in their own zone and taking away the passing lanes.

“They controlled our space, took away the middle and kept everything up the boards,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said.

Neither team was able to crack the goaltenders, and the first stanza ended without any scoring.

The second period began much as the first ended, with even and tight play. But a major penalty against RIT at the 5:30 mark gave the NDTP an extended power play and the momentum.

NDTP player Bryan Miller took a minor penalty three minutes later, setting up 4-on-4 hockey. The NDTP took advantage of the extra room on the ice, and scored twice within an 11-second span.

Joey Crabb started in his own zone and took the puck end to end, skated around RIT players, deked Tiger netminder Tyler Euverman and backhanded the puck into the net to open the NDTP scoring.

Eleven seconds later, the same line of forwards struck again for NDTP. This time it was Joe Pomaranski who skated across the high slot and put a wrister through a screen and into the left side of the RIT net.

The Tiger power play kicked into gear at 13:20 to pull RIT back to only a single-goal deficit. Sam Hill got the puck right on the doorstep and pushed it across the top of the NDTP crease to linemate Peter Bournazakis, who tapped it in to the net.

No more goals were scored in the second period. A noticable difference in NDTP from the normal level of DIII competition that RIT faces was their closing speed. The NDTP players were very quick at closing on the puck carrier, and very few Tigers were able to get off clean shots all night long without having an NDTP player right on top of them.

The third period started out chippy, and went downhill from there. In the first 4:33 of the third period, there were eight penalties handed out — roughing, cross-checking, unsportsmanlike conduct, etc. — and that was indicative of most of the period.

“I thought we got a little chippy at the end and things got away from us,” Wilson said.

The NDTP team took advantage of its power plays during the third period to extend its lead. The first power-play goal of the period was at 6:33. Dave Spina drew the puck behind the Tiger net and both RIT defenders followed. Spina passed the puck to Stephen Gionta, who tapped it in from the low slot.

Gionta, a Rochester native, got to celebrate in front of the 15 family and friends for whom he had reserved tickets.

NDTP tallied another power-play goal late in the period as the penalties continued to mount for both teams. Spina finished this goal off with a shot from the top of the faceoff circle that wound through a screen.

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