WAYNE, N.J. -- Jake Lydon scored one goal in each of the three periods to lead the Mid-State Mustangs of Altoona, Pa. to a 6-1 victory over Delaware (Newark) Ducks in the 18-and-Under AAA title game at the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier II Youth National Championships Sunday afternoon at the Ice Vault.
Lydon’s first two goals were very similar, with solid defense creating the play and Lydon capitalizing with ferocious left-handed blasts. Lydon’s first-period goal came at even strength. The second-period goal was a power play goal. The third-period goal was also a power play, created by teammate Sam Lafferty, and really took away all hope from a comeback by the Ducks as it gave the Mustangs a 5-1 lead in the final period.
“That put the dagger in them,” Lydon said. “They just wanted to get out of there at that point.”
Lafferty, who was the leading scorer in the AAA division for the tournament with eight goals and had a four-goal explosion in a semifinal match Saturday night, continued his torrid scoring late in the first period.
In the first period, an alert Lafferty made a steal in his own end, then quickly fired a shot to the high glove side of Delaware goalkeeper Joey Harant.
“We knew that they were a good team,” Lafferty said. “We knew that if we scored early, it would help give us the momentum.”
The Mustangs put the pedal to the metal and scored another goal just 57 seconds later. Lydon skated in on a two-on-one and kept the puck for himself before firing a wrist shot that Harant never seemed to see. Mid-State had a 2-0 lead with 2:45 remaining in the first period.
“That’s our game,” Lydon said. “We want to get pucks deep and use our speed to our advantage. Speed is our strength. I really expected them to try to keep up with us.”
Harant made two huge saves before the period expired, keeping the deficit at 2-0. However, when the second period began, Delaware wasn’t as fortunate. Jared Karas picked off a loose puck and fired it past Harant for an unassisted goal, pushing the lead to 3-0 just 12 seconds into the second period.
Delaware’s chances suddenly got worse when the team was whistled for roughing and hooking penalties just 14 seconds apart. The Mustangs had a five-on-three advantage for almost a full two minutes, but the Ducks killed off the penalty.
The Mustangs pushed the lead to 4-0 on Lydon’s second goal of the game.
Taking advantage of a five-on-three penalty advantage, the Ducks finally broke through with just 4.9 seconds left in the period when Shane Mullin knocked one through Mustangs goalie Jacob Kahler’s legs, trimming the lead to 4-1. Kahler had stopped the first 24 shots he faced before the late goal in the period.
“I thought that after I scored, we would be able to come back with a little momentum,” Mullin said. “We scored five goals in the third period yesterday [Saturday in the semifinals], so we knew could do it again. We all felt like we could come back.”
The Mustangs then blew the game wide open in the first five minutes of the third period, as Lydon tallied his third goal and Stephen DeMarco added one, pushing the lead to 6-1.
It was Lydon’s third goal that ended all hope for the Ducks.
“That just deflated us,” Mullin said. “We knew it was over from that point.”
The win was a coronation for the Mustangs, one that was a long time planning.
“Ever since we started practicing last June, this was the goal,” Lafferty said. “We had a great shot of achieving that goal because we had such a good team.”
“We didn’t come here to just make it or get to the semifinals or even the finals,” Lydon said. “We came here to win the whole thing. It’s amazing, the best feeling ever, knowing that I had such a big game in a big game. My teammates just kept getting the puck to me and I just kept scoring.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.