USA Men split series with Montenegro after 20-19 shootout loss in La Jolla

La Jolla, CA – June 14 – The U.S. Men’s National Team lost a heartbreaker to Montenegro in front of a packed crowd at UC San Diego, falling 20-19 in a shootout earlier tonight. Five-time Olympian Jesse Smith was honored throughout the competition. He acted as captain and played for a few minutes before leaving the match amid loud cheers. The match itself was a back-and-forth affair, ending after nine rounds of shootouts, with Montenegro’s Dejan Lazovic coming up with a block. Ryder Dodd to secure victory. Johnny Hooper And Max Irving led Team USA with four goals each during regular regulation and the shootout. Adrian Weinberg played most of the match with seven saves, including a block in the shootout. West Temkin made its Senior National Team debut, seeing time in the third quarter and shootout. Team USA returns to action on June 26 when they begin a three-match series with Spain starting at Mt. Sac at 7 p.m. Tickets for the series with Spain are on sale and can be purchased by clicking here. That match will be broadcast LIVE on ESPNU and streamed on ESPN+.

Team USA got off to a hot start as they responded to an opening goal from Montenegro with four straight to take control early. Four different scorers contributed, including Irving, Alex Bowen, Chase Dodd And Ryder Dodd. Montenegro fought back, leveling the match at 4-4 earlier in the second quarter and taking the lead moments later at 6-4. Dylan Woodhead stopped the bleeding for Team USA with a close-range goal to stop the visitors’ 5-0 run. Woodhead scored late on the power play and the game was tied at 6-6 going into halftime.

Alex Obert gave the United States the lead back early in the third with a score for a 7-6 lead. Once again, it was Montenegro who fought back, scoring four straight to take a 10-7 lead with 2:05 left in the period. The two teams then traded goals and Montenegro had an 11-8 lead heading into the fourth. Team USA spent the first part of the fourth quarter trying to close the three-goal deficit, but Montenegro stayed strong. With 3:07 left in the game Luca Cupid came through on a power play strike and drew within one at 13-12. It wasn’t long after that Max Irving tied the game with five goals from the U.S. penalty kicks in regulation. Montenegro immediately went back in front with one lead and saw Irving calmly connect again from the five-meter line for a 14-14 score. Each team looked in the waning moments, but regulation ended in a tie and after some deliberation, both coaches agreed to a shootout.

Montenegro took an early lead, followed by a key block from Dejan Lazovic. Team USA was able to return the favor shortly afterwards Adrian Weinberg picked up a stop that led to a Johnny Hooper goal and a 15-15 score. The two teams exchanged goals and misses, but each came to a standstill after five shooters. A few rounds followed and it was Vasilje Radovic with the decisive goal, followed by Lazovic’s decisive save.

Scoring – Box score
US 19 (4, 2, 2, 6) (5) J. Hooper 4, M. Irving 4, A. Bowen 3, H. Daube 2, D. Woodhead 2, R. Dodd 1, L Cupido 1, A. Obert 1, C. Dodd 1
MNE 20 (3, 3, 5, 3) (6) V. Popadic 4, S. Vidovic 3, K. Averka 2, D. Matkovic 2, V. Radovic 2, A. Korac 2, J. Vujovic 1, B Djurdjic 1, D. Obradovich 1
Saves – USA – A. Weinberg 7, W. Temkin 1 – MNE – D. Lazovic 15
6×5 – US – 14/6 – MNE – 10/8
Sanctions Rules – US – 5/5 – MNE – 0/0 – Shootout – US – 5/9 – MNE – 6/9