Led by Daniil Tarasov's two goals and a goal and an assist from Tyler Pham, the Ice extended their unbeaten streak to 11 straight games (and their winning streak to six straight) with a 4-3 victory over the U.S. National Team Development Program U18 squad Friday at the Pepsi Coliseum.
For Tarasov, his two-goal game gave him 20 goals for the year, second-best in the USHL behind Lincoln's Kevin Roy (26). With 42 points, Tarasov is also second to Roy in that category.
Pham's night marked his second two-point game of his young USHL career. He also had a goal and an assist on Dec. 17 against Chicago, a 6-2 Ice victory. The team's top pick in the 2011 USHL Entry Draft, Pham now has two goals and five assists.
Christian Hilbrich -- fresh off his commitment to Cornell -- also scored a goal for the Ice, who built a 4-1 lead with three second-period goals.
Team USA started the scoring just 96 seconds in, on a goal by highly-touted defenseman Jacob Truba. Tarasov tied the game with 2:28 left in the period on the power play -- the Ice were 1-for-2 with the man advantage.
Things exploded in the second. Pham scored unassisted just 44 seconds in to give the Ice the lead. Tarasov buried a feed from Robert Polosello just 1:08 later. Then, a minute after the USA switched goaltenders, Pham and Drew Smolcynski set up Hilbrich's game-winner at 13:42 of the second.
The Ice's three goals came on just six shots. Starter Collin Olson allowed three goals on 15 shots, but only stopped two of the four shots he faced in the period. Backup Jared Rutledge came in midway through the period and allowed Hilbrich's game-winner a minute later. He would stop nine of 10.
It became the game-winner because Team USA's Miles Koules scored with 2:41 left in the second, and Matthew Lane scored with 2:38 left in the third. Trouba assisted on both goals.
Jon Gillies made 31 saves for the Ice.
The Ice are now 20-7-4 as they begin the second half of the season, and remain seven points back of first-place Green Bay. They are off until next weekend, when they visit Chicago on Friday and Dubuque on Saturday.
Roster notes: Sean Kuraly returned to the lineup tonight after missing both games last weekend. He was scoreless and a minus-1. Jose Delgadillo, acquired earlier in the week from Sioux City in exchange for Alexander Kuqali, made his Ice debut. ... He wore No. 2 and was a plus-1. ... Ryan Cole has been dealt to Amarillo in the Tier II NAHL. Cole had been acquired from Lincoln earlier in the season for future considerations and had two goals and two assists in 10 games. ... The Ice have also added Russian forward Kirill Lebedev to the roster. He will wear number 91. He is from Magnitogorsk, Russia, and is currently 20, so he is in his lone year of USHL eligibility.
1. Daniil Tarasov (Ice), 2 goals, 6 shots, +2
2. Tyler Pham (Ice), goal, assist, 2 shots, +2
3. Ryan Obuchowski (Ice), assist, +2