Five different goal scorers helped lift the RI Saints past the Esmark Stars 5-1 to kick off the 2021 Chipotle-USA Hockey National Championships at the Ice Zone in Hazelwood, Missouri.
“It’s always great to get that first win under your belt,” said Matt Plante, head coach of the RI Saints. “It really gets the confidence going and the belief going. We did some things well and we got some things a little bit better, but we’ll look at some stuff on video and try to get better each day throughout the week.”
The RI Saints opened the scoring less than five minutes into the first period when Josh Karnish scooped up the puck behind his own goal, skated it the full length of the ice and chipped it in.
The Saints maintained a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Less than two minutes into the middle frame, Zachary Aben extended the Saints’ lead to 2-0 after he curled below the goal line and back out in front where he tucked it in the short side of the net. The Esmark Stars tried to capitalize almost immediately after but the chance was poke-checked away by Saints goaltender Thomas Heaney.
Rhode Island’s Sixten Jennersjo made it 3-0 game with 13:09 left to play in the second period.
Minutes later, the Stars fought back in the offensive zone with a flurry of scoring chances from Eddie Pazo and Shane Miller, but Heaney stood tall in net for the Saints.
The Saints added two more goals, both on the power play, to their tally in the first 10 minutes of the third period. Sterling Cooke scored off a one-timer in the slot to give the Saints a 4-0 lead and Owen McLaughlin solidified the win for the Saints with a goal less than five minutes later.
“Our process coming into today was we have to be all in on today so we can have a better tomorrow,” Plante said. “And that’s going to be our same mindset tomorrow and the rest of the week.”
Esmark got on the board with midway through the third period when Pazo found the back of the net to seal the final at 5-1.
HIGHLIGHT: Josh Karnish opens the scoring for the RI Saints.
Five goals in the third period lifted the NJ Avalanche past the Predators, 6-3. Each goal was scored by a different member of the Avalanche and Michael Emerson led the way with three points (1G, 2A).
With the game tied 1-1 going into the third period, Culver Academy scored twice in the third to defeat Car Shield 3-2 in regulation. Timofey Spitserov tallied two goals for Culver Academy, including the game-winning goal. Kolton Watts scored both of Car Shield’s goals, including one off a penalty shot in the second.
Four players Shattuck St. Mary’s had multi-point performances in their 9-3 victory over Sioux Falls. Jordan Brisson and Samuel Harris notched two goals apiece, while Michael Quinn and William Whitelaw each finished with a goal and an assist.
Maine Nordiques 4, Rocky Mountain Roughriders 2
After being tied 1-1 through the first period, the Maine Nordiques scored two goals in the second and added another in the third to claim a 4-2 victory over the Rocky Mountain Roughriders.
Samuel Livecchi made 18 saves to backstop Rochester to a 3-0 shutout against the Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets. Jacob Percival and Nicholas Rexine recorded two points apiece for Rochester, both earning a goal and as assist.
Two goals from Tanner Mahoney helped the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite to a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Jr. Ducks. Five different Penguins players had multi-point performances, including Austin Oravetz who led the team with three points (1g, 2a).
Culin Wilson scored two goals and three other Eagles recorded two points each to lift the Boston Jr. Eagles past Meijer 6-3. Timmy Delay, Michael Cataldo and Donovan O’Neil each finished with one goal and one assist. Meijer goaltender Frederick Soderberg made 37 saves.