PLYMOUTH, Mich. - The Oakland Jr. Grizzlies scored four third period goals on their way to a 5-1 victory over Thunder Hockey on Friday afternoon. The win helped the Grizzlies secure a spot in the quarterfinals of the Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Tier I 15O National Championship.
Rebounding after a tough loss Thursday night to the Buffalo Jr. Sabres, the Grizzlies knew they needed to win in order to avoid a tie-breaker scenario.
“Last night we were bummed,” said Oakland Head Coach Dwayne Norris. “I’m just proud of the fact that we had the energy, we scrapped the loss last night quickly, and had a clean slate and had the energy to get the result we got today.”
They had to come from behind, as the Thunder scored late in the first period. Following a shot from Christopher Lanier, Trevor Faucher came down the slot and put home a rebound to make it 1-0.
Oakland responded with a number of chances, including quality looks from Kevin Perrott. They were all turned aside until late in the second period when Perrott finally broke through and tied up the game.
“I was thinking, ‘How many shots do I have to take before one goes in?’ And then Owen Carlile made a great play against the boards and we were able to capitalize on it,” Perrott said. “It was just a great feeling to score a goal in Nationals.”
The great feeling continued for Perrot 4:14 into the third period when he would score what would turn out to be the game-winning goal.
“Brett Harris made a great play to get it out front. I shot and didn’t really know where it went until I saw my teammates celebrating, and I thought, ‘Oh I scored!’”
The Thunder would threaten throughout the third period, but Charlie Gudme scored an empty-net goal to make it 3-1. Goals from Aaron Vyletel and Dylan Glinski in the final minute sealed the win for the Grizzlies, and helped Perrott earn his team’s wrestling belt.
“It’s a belt to signify that I was player of the game,” Perrott said. “I had a couple of goals today, so I was able to get the belt. But I thought it was a full team effort.”
Buffalo Jr. Sabres 10, MN Green Giants 0 - Patrick Cole and Brady Hildreth each scored two goals in the Jr. Sabres shutout victory. Trent Kubiak made 11 saves in net. Gabriel Lunn, Connor Pelc, Samuel Cristiano, Jak Vaarwerk, Matthew DeSpirt and Mason LaCivita were the other goal scorers for Buffalo, helping lead the team to the quarterfinals.
Little Caesars 2, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 1 - Earning a spot in the quarterfinals, Little Caesars knocked off Pittsburgh 2-1. William Renfrow had a hand in both goals, scoring one in the second period. He assisted on a Mikita Tarasevich goal. In the third, Johnny Fratto scored to cut the lead in half. Zakari Brice was able to fend off a couple of last second opportunities to hold on and win.
NJ Rockets 5, Sioux Falls Power 3 - William Lawrence IV had his second two goal game in as many days as the Rockets held off the Sioux Falls Power. Lawrence IV scored in each of the first two frames, and has scored in every game of the tournament so far, as NJ jumped out to a 4-1 lead after two. Eric Bush and Matthew Brille were the other goal scorers for the Rockets in the first two frames, while Blake Bakey scored for the Power. In the third, Cole Hanan added a goal for NJ. Bennet Koupal and Easton Zueger scored for the Power but it was not enough to mount the comeback.
Chicago Mission 3, Shattuck St. Mary's 1 - After falling behind after the first period, the mission scored three goals in the second to complete an undefeated pool play. Connor Mahoney scored first for Shattuck. Goals from Simon Motew, Jack Devine and Davis Burnside were the difference for Chicago. Nicholas Larrabee made 19 saves in the victory.
Cape Cod Whalers 4, San Jose Jr. Sharks 2 - Vladislav Severin scored both goals for the Jr. Sharks, but it was not enough as the Whalers held on to win. Colin Norton had two goals for the Whalers, including a third period one that put the game away. Ethan O'Neill and Stephen Canavan also scored for Cape Cod, who finished pool play on a high note.
Neponset Valley River Rats 4, Central CT Selects 3 (OT) - Michael Cataldo's second goal of the game was a big one, as it lifted Neponset Valley over Central CT in overtime. He also scored in the second period. Joseph Bennett and Brock Massie exchanged goals in the first period. Massie added another in the second and was joined by Selects teammate Ryan Greene on the scoresheet. Dominic Murphy scored the other goal for Neponset Valley. Despite the loss, Central CT still advanced to the quarterfinals.
Phoenix Jr. Coyotes 4, North Jersey Avalanche 1 - Needing a win to make it to the quarterfinals, the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes defeated the North Jersey Avalanche. David Hymovitch had a three-point game, assisting on the first three Phoenix goals. Ty Nash, Kaden Majercak and Jake Johnson scored those goals to put the Jr. Coyotes up 3-0. Dante Palombo's power play goal reduced the deficit to two, but Matthew Gross scored an empty-netter. Michael Brown stopped 24 of the 25 Avalanche shots.