The United States national team defeated Croatia in a friendly match played in Zagreb this evening.
After a regular time, the score was 17:17. The game entered the penalty shootout, and the USA recorded a 22:21 victory.
Friendly match, Zagreb
Croatia – USA 21:22 (5:5, 2:6, 4:3, 6:3, PSO 4:5)
Croatia: Fatovic 3, Bukic 3, Vukicevic 3, Vrlic 2, Dobud 2, Jokovic 1, Loncar 1, Milos 1, Buric 1.
USA: Irwing 5, Daube 3, Bowen 3, Vavic 2, Woodhead 1, Hallock 1, Hooper 1, Stevenson 1.
Scorers in the penalty shootout – Croatia: Vukicevic, Fatovic, Jokovic, Buric (Turner saved Bukic’s shot in 3rd round), USA: Bowen, Daube, Hooper, Irving, Hallock.
Croatia is finishing its preparations for the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Rotterdam. On the other side, the joint pieces of training with Croatia is another stop of the Americans’ winter tour through Europe. In December and January, they trained together with Greece in Athens. A week ago, they won 1st place at the tournament in Podgorica, ahead of Montenegro and Serbia. Team USA arrived in Zagreb from Belgrade, where they were for 5-day joint preparation with Serbia (January 31 – February 4). After Croatia, the USA will travel to Italy.
In the first quarter, the Croats had a 2-goal advantage (3:1, 4:2, 5:3), but the Americans equalized before the first break – 5:5.
The visitors dominated the second quarter and had a significant 11:7 advantage at halftime.
The Croats started climbing back during the third period and reduced the gap to three (11:14) before the final quarter.
There were many goals in the final period, too. The Croats equalized two and a half minutes before the end (Buric 16:16). The USA was very close to a victory in the last minute, after Alex Bowen’s goal for 17:16. But, Luka Loncar found the net five seconds from time, and the match entered the penalty shootout.
All five American players found the net in the shootout. Croatia scored four goals, while Jack Turner saved Luka Bukic’s shot in the 3rd round.
Croatia and the USA will play another match tomorrow evening.