FRISCO, Texas -- It was probably the most anticipated game of the 2017 USA Hockey Youth Tier II 16U National Championships.
In an event that was a showcase for youth hockey in Texas, a pair of Dallas-area teams met in the championship game of the 2A Division on Monday morning.
It was by far the most well-attended game of the tournament, and it didn’t hurt that after the semifinals on Sunday, the Dallas Stars Twitter account promoted the game, saying, “Two Dallas youth teams, HC Dallas and DJHA, will compete for the 16U Tier II National Championship tomorrow. The winner? Hockey in Texas.”
And the game lived up to expectations as the Dallas Jr. Penguins ousted Hockey Club Dallas 5-2 in a tight-checking, defensive-minded game for both teams.
Hockey Club Dallas scored the only goal of the first period when Ryan Muckensturm struck on the power play at 14:17 of the period.
The Jr. Penguins then responded as Ethan Harrison had a natural hat trick in the second period.
Harrison first tied the game on a short-handed goal 2:48 into the middle period. His second goal came at 7:37 of the period on the power play, and gave his team a 2-1 lead, while he completed the hat trick with an even-strength tally at 10:10 of the period.
Hockey Club Dallas countered 40 seconds after Harrison’s third goal, when Cade Weber scored at 10:50 of the second period to make it 3-2 going into the third.
In the third period, Robert Langhoff scored a crucial goal to give the Jr. Penguins a 4-2 lead 5:30 into the period, and Harrison added a power play empty netter with 17 seconds remaining to ice the victory in the all-Dallas championship game.
“This is what we set out to achieve before the season,” Jr. Penguins coach Jeffrey Mewett said. “We had this as a goal to come out this season and win a national championship.”
Doing it against Hockey Club Dallas only made it more difficult. Monday’s championship game was the eighth meeting between the teams this season and the Jr. Penguins had twice before defeated Hockey Club Dallas for state and league titles.
“I think that made it much harder,” Mewett said. “Most of the times in these tournaments you don’t know the other teams at all, so it’s actually easier to go out and just play. But when you know the other team and the coaches know each other so well, you can start to overthink it a little bit. So I was happy with how we were able to handle that.”
And the Jr. Penguins had to do extra work to reach the title game. After completing round robin play undefeated, they endured a pair of overtime games on Sunday to reach the championship.
In the quarterfinals, the Jr. Penguins defeated the Spokane Jr. Chiefs 2-1 when Ryan Casey scored at 9:31 of overtime. Later that day, Adam Doucette scored in overtime of a 3-2 semifinal victory against the Atlanta Fire.
“With a lot of close games and one-goal games, you have to really be happy for what they did,” Mewett said. “It wasn't easy, but it really was rewarding for the guys. They put in extra work the past two days.”
Evan Williams made 21 saves in the championship game for the Jr. Penguins, while Evan Riddle made 12 saves on 16 shots for Hockey Club Dallas.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
|Youth Tier I (14U)||Scottsdale, Arizona||Arizona Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier I (15-year-olds only)||Scottsdale, Arizona||Arizona Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier I (16U, 18U)||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||Pittsburgh Penguins Elite||April 6-10, 2017|
|Girls Tier I||Rochester/Macomb, Michigan||HoneyBaked Hockey Club||April 6-10, 2017|
|Women's A, B, C||Rochester/Macomb, Michigan||HoneyBaked Hockey Club||April 6-9, 2017|
|High School||Cleveland, Ohio||Cleveland Suburban Hockey||March 30-April 3, 2017|
|Girls Tier II||Troy, Michigan||Troy Youth Hockey Association||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (14U)||Coral Springs, Florida||Florida Panthers Ice Den||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (16U)||Frisco, Texas||Texas Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (18U)||Lansing, Michigan||Lansing Hockey Club||April 6-10, 2017|
|Sled||San Jose, California||Sharks Ice||April 6-9, 2017|
|Adult Rec Men's||Wesley Chapel, Florida||Florida Hospital Center Ice||April 20-23, 2017|
|Adult Rec Women's||Ellenton, Florida||Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex||April 27-30, 2017|