GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Anaheim Jr. Ducks and North Jersey Avalanche faced off on Wednesday night in a matchup filled with speed and skill.
After a tight first period that ended with the score tied at zero, the Avalanche came out with urgency in the second period, scoring three goals before winning the contest, 7-2.
“I liked the pace,” said Avalanche head coach Mark Lotito. “When we play fast that way, our skillset takes over. We play a simple game and we just move the puck well. I thought it was all there today, especially in the second period. I thought we really turned it on in the second period.”
After a bit of a feeling out process for both teams during the opening 10 minutes of the game, things began to open up in the second half of the opening period. 11 minutes into the game, Tyler Franchi made two big saves on for the Avalanche to keep the game scoreless.
The Avalanche took two penalties within 53 seconds of each other and were forced to kill 1:07 of a 5-on-3. After successfully killing off both penalties, the Jr. Ducks streaked down the ice on a 2-on-1 when Franchi made another great save before the end of the period.
After the horn sounded marking the end of the first period, both teams headed to their respective dressing rooms tied at zero.
“After the first period I said ‘We have to get back to our game of speed, skill, tenacity and competitiveness,” said Lotito. “I think we did that and it showed on the board.”
After a slashing penalty was assessed to the Jr. Ducks at the 48 second mark of the second period, the Avalanche got its first power play of the game and capitalized.
John Lundy positioned himself in the high slot in front of the net and yelled out for his defenseman to fire a shot on goal. After Brandon Cimino let a shot fly from the point, Lundy deflected it past Ethan Lahmon to put the Avalanche up by one. Liam Ovington picked up a secondary assist on the goal.
After another Jr. Ducks penalty was assessed, the Avalanche went to the power play and doubled its lead to two. After dumping the puck into the offensive zone, Christopher Carroll won a puck battle against two Jr. Ducks before walking into the slot and firing a shot to the far side, below the blocker of Lahmon, to give the Avalanche a 2-0 lead. Ovington picked up his second helper of the game and Lukas Sedlacek picked up the secondary assist.
The Avalanche continued to apply pressure to the Jr. Ducks and took a 3-0 lead at the 12:30 mark of the second period. John Hallard took a pass from Jason Ahearn and blasted a one-timer over the glove of Lahmon to extend the lead to three with Dylan Robbins picking up the secondary assist.
Looking to get a spark before the end of the period, the Jr. Ducks began to apply pressure in its offensive zone and drew a penalty against the Avalanche. On the power play, Victor Ouellet-Massicotte positioned himself at the left point and fired a one-timer over the glove of Franchi to bring the Jr. Ducks within two. Jerrett Overland and Tyler Shetland picked up the assists on Ouellet-Massicotte’s power-play goal.
The Avalanche opened the third period with plenty of speed and capitalized just 1:52 into the period when Tyler Sedlak took a pass from Liam Ovington at the lower left circle. Sedlak fired a one-timer before Lahmon could get across the crease to give the Avalanche a 4-1 lead.
Lundy picked up his second goal of the contest at the 10:54 mark with Ahearn picking up the lone assist before Sedlacek scored his first goal of the tournament just 1:15 later off a pass from William Kormanik.
The Jr. Ducks scored its second goal of the contest at the 13:51 mark when Benjamin Biester found John Klus waiting in the slot. Klus fired a one-timer to the near side to beat Franchi with Lyusyen Loshak collecting the secondary assist.
The Avalanche scored its seventh goal of the contest at the 16:47 mark when Cimino took a pass from Ovington and ripped a one-timer into the back of the net. Sedlak picked up second point of the game with a secondary assist on the goal. Meanwhile, Ovington collected his fourth assist of the contest on the Cimino goal.
“The Jr. Ducks are a real hard-nosed team,” said Lotito. “They play a blue-collar game with speed so they’re really on top of you. Once our skillset took over and we began to play with speed, I think things took off for us.”
Jayden Struble led the way with four points as the Boston Jr. Eagles took down the Washington Little Caps, 10-1. Boston opened the scoring at the 2:14 mark of the first period when Liam Connors picked up his first goal of the tournament off an assist from Struble. The Jr. Eagles doubled its lead at the 9:17 mark when Thomas Lyons scored an unassisted goal. The second period was a big one for the Jr. Eagles. Boston scored eight goals in the second, including two tallies from James Davenport. Connor Joyce got things going for Boston at the 1:49 mark of the second period, scoring off an assist from James Perullo. Ben Meehan scored just eight seconds later with Jack Cronin and Jacob Flynn picking up the helpers. Lyons scored his second goal of the contest at the 3:45 mark of the second period off assists from Liam Devlin and Struble. Devlin collected his first goal of the tournament on the power play at the 7:25 mark with Lyons and Flynn collecting the assists. James Davenport scored his first goal shorthanded at the 9:14 mark with Cronin and Struble picking up the helpers. Chase McInnis followed up shortly thereafter with a shorthanded goal of his own at the 10:12 mark. Davenport scored the second-straight unassisted goal for the Jr. Eagles just nine seconds after the McInnis goal before Struble scored on the power play at 10:52 with McInnis collecting the lone assist. The Little Caps scored its lone goal on the power play at the 16:42 mark of the second period when Jacob Smith converted with Paolo Meany and Stephen (Max) Thiessen collecting the assists.
11 players recorded at least one point for the Central CT Selects as it topped Belle Tire, 9-1. Will Margel led the way with five points (2G, 3A), while Stephen Kyrkostas (0G, 4A) and Matt Crasa (1G, 3A) each recorded four points apiece. Tanner Dickinson scored the lone goal for Belle Tire.
Justin Thompson factored into all three goals (2G, 1A) as the Iowa Wild defeated the Mid Fairfield Jr. Rangers, 3-1. Kolby Klingenmeyer also scored for the Wild, while Trent Burnham made 23 saves on 24 shots. Gavin Puskar scored the lone goal for the Rangers.
Riley Brennan scored the game-winning goal in overtime as Yale defeated the Colorado Rampage, 5-4. Alexander Jeffries led the way for Yale with three assists. Clayton Cosentino recorded a hat trick for the Rampage in the loss.
Tyler Young recorded a hat trick and collected two assists for a five-point night as his Neponset Valley River Rats took down Esmark, 6-4. Casey Severo added two goals of his own and collected two assists for the River Rats in the victory. Oldrich Virag scored a recorded three assists for Esmark, while Blake Rossi scored two goals in the defeat.
Brendan Brisson led the way with two goals and three assists as 15 skaters recorded at least one point for Shattuck St. Mary's. Luke Beerman and Kent Lee also recorded two goals apiece. Tyler Zahradka scored the lone goal for the Power.
After closing out the second period down 1-0, Northwood Prep scored two goals in the third period to defeat Victory Honda. Will Arquiett and Josh Waters scored for Northwood Prep, while Ryan Wilson made 25 saves on 26 shots. Tyler Haydu scored the lone goal for Victory Honda and goaltender Max Miller made 38 saves after facing 40 shots.