16 July, Santa Clara, California U.S. Men’s National Team won 21-20 in a shootout over Italy in the series’ deciding game tonight at Santa Clara University. In this game, Hannes Daube and Chase Dodd both scored four goals, and Adrian Weinberg made fifteen saves in goal.
When Italy made a late surge to force overtime, the United States threw away a two-goal advantage in the game’s closing 18 seconds.
Ben Hallock scored in the fifth and final round of the shootout, and goaltender Weinberg made the only save.
There will be a rebroadcast of the game on ESPNU this coming Sunday at 11:30 et/8:30 pt. Now, Team USA can focus on getting ready for the FINA World League Super Final, which will be held on July 22 in Strasbourg, France. On Monday, the United States squad will be revealed.
USA entered the match with tremendous enthusiasm, scoring two goals in the first half thanks to efforts from Chase Dodd and Dylan Woodhead. This came just one day after a disappointing loss to Italy at Stanford.
After Italy scored two in a row to equalise the game, Alex Bowen scored on the power play to give the Americans a 3-2 advantage.
The Italians had the last word in the first, scoring with 0:01 remaining to send the game into overtime tied at three. It was a repeat of the first quarter, with the United States taking a two-goal lead before Italy staged a comeback.
With 5 minutes and 44 seconds left in the first half, Italy came back from a 5-3 deficit to take the lead for the first time on a goal by Edoardo Di Somma. Moments later, Daube scored to make the score 6-6 at halftime.
With 8-7 advantage and 6:19 remaining in the third quarter, Tyler Abramson scored two of the first three goals. In the minutes that followed, Marko Vavic scored twice, the second time with :25 left in the session to give the United States their highest lead of the game, 11-8. Luca Damonte scored for Italy in the final ten seconds of the third to make the score 11-9 heading into the fourth.
In the fourth, Team USA twice built four-goal leads that seemed insurmountable. Dodd scored first to make it 13-9, and then Jake Ehrhardt scored to make it 14-10. Dodd scored with 2:27 remaining to put the USA back in the lead, 16-13, after Italy had made some small inroads.
A cliff like that wouldn’t stand. Italy played 7-on-6 after cutting the lead to 16-14, sending goalkeeper Gianmarco Nicosia into the offensive zone, and he scored from close range with 18 seconds remaining to make the score 16-15.
The next time the ball was in the United States’ possession, Italy applied pressure, and the cunning Damonte dove under the water, only to surface and steal it as time expired.
Italy staged a miraculous comeback thanks to the left-handed player’s game-tying goal with only four seconds remaining. When penalties were introduced, Damonte was first, but Weinberg was able to block his attempt. Hallock scored the game-winning goal after everyone else had scored.