GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Shattuck-St. Mary’s finally got over the hump.
After placing national runner-up in 2003, ’05 and ’12, the Sabres’ 14-and-Under team took care of business this year.
Scott Reedy scored twice and David Tomeo was solid in goal as the Minnesota boarding school beat the Chicago Mission 4-2 in the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier I Youth National Championships title game Sunday at the Cornerstone Ice Center.
“I think we just wanted it and showed everybody that,” Shattuck-St. Mary’s goalie David Tomeo said. “This is a big win for us, and it just came down to us wanting it more.”
Tomeo came up with 30 saves in the final and won all five of his games in the tournament. He stopped 104 of 110 shots faced.
“We knew coming into this that he was one of the best goalies in the country, if not the best goalie in the country,” Chicago coach Gino Cavallini said. “It’s one of those games, we get some bounces and we outshoot them, but we didn’t make enough noise to score when we needed to.”
The teams were all too familiar with one another, having faced off five times during the regular season. Shattuck-St. Mary’s won the first three games and Chicago took the next two.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s coach John LaFontaine said it was a coin toss every time his team played Chicago.
“You’ve got to give them credit, but our guys came out and they had a plan and they stuck to it and they played hard together,” LaFontaine said.
Chicago, which placed runner-up for the fourth time in the last seven years, outshot Shattuck-St. Mary’s 32-26.
Chicago got on the scoreboard first, scoring six seconds after its initial power play expired. The Mission kept the puck in their zone and Graham Slaggert — who scored twice in the final and led all three Tier I age levels with 12 points — pounded home a rebound at 3:32 of the opening period.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s quickly answered 45 seconds later. Chicago couldn’t clear the puck and Reedy took control of the turnover, skated in on the net and put the puck past Shane Brancato.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s took its first lead and took control of the game in the second period. Grant Mismash carried the puck past the circle and dished it to the middle for Connor McMenamin, who went backhand for the goal at 4:42.
After Chicago tied the game 2-2 at the 10:03 mark of the second period on a Slaggert tally, the Sabres responded in a big way. Just 46 seconds after the Mission’s goal, Reedy scored for the second time.
“The energy was just there on the bench and everyone was pumped to get that next one,” said Reedy, who scored seven goals in the tournament. “We were more determined than [Chicago]. The goal just came to us after working really hard.”
LaFontaine said he could see the Chicago players fighting fatigue after the goal. It was going to be tough for them to make a comeback.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s built a little cushion, scoring at the 8:01 mark of the third period. With a loose puck sitting at the doorstep waiting to be cleared, the Sabres’ Charlie Dovorany buried it into the back of the net, and it was 4-2.
LaFontaine was happy to grab the storied program’s first 14U championship, especially after a heartbreaking double overtime loss to Honey Baked in last year’s national championship game.
“It’s for the players,” LaFontaine said. “All year, [the coaches] had the players prepared on what we had to go through to be able to weather the storm, and we were fortunate.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
The Dorchester Chiefs won a hard-fought USA Hockey National Championship, beating the Hollydell Hurricanes 3-2 to win the Tier II 18 & Under Conference 4A title game on Sunday in Rochester, N.Y.
Dorchester was challenged throughout the National Tournament. Five of the Chiefs’ six games were decided by two goals or fewer. In fact, the only game with a comfortable margin was their tournament-opening 7-2 victory over Hollydell, which played Dorchester much closer in the rematch.
Dorchester built a 3-0 lead after two periods, then held on to survive a Hollydell rally. The Hurricanes scored twice in the final nine minutes, including a goal that cut the margin to one with 35.9 seconds remaining.
Dorchester killed four of five penalties in the final 10:22 and Chiefs goalie Sal Tecci stopped a half dozen shots in a furious final minute of play.
“That last minute,” said Tecci, shaking his head in disbelief. “The goal they got with 30 seconds left, I didn’t even see it. I was screened on the play.”
“Then, after that, they were just all over us,” continued Tecci. “I just did my best to stop everything. Then, with about five seconds left, someone had the puck and got wide open right in front of me. My heart just stopped. Somehow, I just managed to get a glove on it.”
“You’d much rather see the puck down at the other end, I’ll tell you that,” Dorchester coach Ross Pasquantonio said. “All of us were holding our collective breath on the bench, watching the clock. There’s nothing else you can do.”
“It’s typical of them, taking it to the last minute and putting everyone on edge,” Pasquantonio continued.
The game didn’t start off as a nail-biter. Dorchester scored twice in the first three minutes of the game and seemed on track to match their comfortable win over Hollydell in the tournament opener.
Mike Lopez started the scoring 1:32 into the game with a goal from Nick Bligh. It was Lopez’s fifth goal of Nationals. Combined with his team-leading eight assists, Lopez ended up as the leading scorer for the Chiefs. Bligh recorded his seventh assist of the tournament, good for second on Dorchester.
A minute and 18 seconds later, Joe Dipietro scored his first goal of Nationals, helped by Mike Sullivan’s first assist.
In the second period, Dipietro fed Sullivan to give Dorchester a 3-0 lead. It was Sullivan’s fifth goal and Dipietro’s second assist.
The offensive show was a surprise for Dorchester, who depended on a small group of players for most of the tournament.
“We basically played the whole tournament with two lines,” Pasquantonio said.
The Chiefs got 25 of their 28 goals from five players and 32 of their 40 assists from six.
Part of the reason the Chiefs went a little deeper into their bench in the title game was their late night in the semifinals.
“The game lasted until 12:30 (Saturday) night,” Tecci said. “We went to overtime. We didn’t get to bed until about 2:30.”
“It was just a lucky break that we didn’t get a 10 a.m. start today,” Pasquantonio said of the team’s 1 p.m. start, the last of the four championship games played on Sunday.
One area where Dorchester didn’t go deep into the depth chart was between the pipes. Tecci played every minute of all six games, making Dorchester the only team in the finals not to use their backup netminder at any point in the tournament.
“I was brought in to be the main goalie,” Tecci said with a shrug, “but yeah, I guess I’m pretty beat. I saw a lot of shots.”
Tecci stopped an eye-popping 190 shots, including 34 in the championship game.
“Sal was the backbone of our team,” Pasquantonio said. “We needed him in order to get where we are. He’s the best I’ve ever coached. He has a bright future.”
Hollydell made things interesting in the third period as Dorchester seemed to show signs of a tough six days of hockey. Mike Schwer scored with 8:40 remaining in the game for his first tally of the tournament. Christopher Carnivale assisted.
Kevin Kiehner added the goal in the final minute that set up the frantic ending. It was his first goal of Nationals. James Privito contributed his team-leading fifth assist.
Dorchester was unbeaten on their way to the title game. After beating Hollydell in the opener, they beat Mt. Clemens 4-2 and Clifton Park 6-4.
In the quarterfinals, Dorchester took out Team Toledo 6-4, then beat the Northwest Chargers in a marathon game Saturday night.
Story courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.