Sasha Pastujov recorded his first career USHL hat trick to lead USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program U18 squad to a 4-1 victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints on Friday in Plymouth, Mich.

The Saints lost their fifth straight game and fell to 1-10-0, while the Americans improved to 4-2-1.The two teams meet again at 3 p.m. today in Plymouth in the final game before an abbreviated holiday break.

Pastujov opened the scoring 14:58 into the game when his shot from the slot eluded a screen and beat Dubuque goalie Aidan McCarthy to the top right corner of the net. He scored the eventual game-winner 9:21 into the second period by following up his own rebound and sliding a shot past McCarthy from the side of the net.

Kenny Connors ended Team USA goalie Gibson Homer’s shutout bid 3:34 into the third period with his first USHL goal. Ian Pierce broke the puck out of his own zone, and Connors, Connor Kurth and Max Montes weaved their way into the Team USA zone. Kurth gave Connors a cross crease pass, and Connors hit an empty net to make it 2-1.


But Pastujov completed his hat trick just 3:16 later with a goal on a back door one-timer 9 seconds after a Team USA power play expired. Pastujov’s third career multi-goal game raised his total to 13 goals in 31 career USHL games.

Ryan St. Louis, the son of former NHL star Martin St. Louis, sealed the victory with an empty net goal in the final minute.

Team USA outshot Dubuque, 25-23, and went 0-for-1 on the power play while denying all four of the Saints’ man-advantage situations.