MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. - Borya Valis scored twice and Michael Valdez picked up two assists to help the Colorado Thunderbirds defeat the Nashville Jr. Predators, 5-1, on day two of the Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Tier I 16U National Championship.
“I think as a team we just kept working hard,” said David Clarkson, head coach of the 16U Colorado Thunderbirds. “You get this far and you’re lucky enough to be here, but as a group we put pucks behind them and made them work and that was the game plan going in. They are a great hockey team though and it was a fun game to watch and be a part of.”
There was no shortage of scoring opportunities for both teams to start the first period. Zachary Peller landed a dangerous shot on goal for Nashville less than five minutes into the first after he skated the puck in from the point, but his attempt was smothered by Colorado’s goaltender Caleb Allen.
Both teams traded back-to-back scoring chances in the first 10 minutes of the frame.
Colorado opened the scoring with less than 10 minutes to play in the first period when Valis knocked in the rebound off a shot from Valdez to give the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead.
Nashville had an offensive spurt to close out the second period with back-to-back opportunities from Brandon Wolfenbarger, but the Thunderbirds maintained a 1-0 lead heading into the third.
Colorado turned up the heat on offense coming out of the second intermission, scoring three goals in four minutes to start the third. Less than a minute into the third period, Valis knocked the puck in a wide-open back door off a shot from Reid Conn that went wide to extend the Thunderbirds’ lead to 2-0.
The Thunderbirds jumped out to a 4-0 lead after scoring two goals just 44 seconds apart. Beau Cortney buried the puck in the top corner to claim a 3-0 lead for the Thunderbird, while Mason Rudrud found the back of the net less than a minute later to make it 4-0 with 13:20 left to play in the game.
“We’re going to have some fun for a bit and let them enjoy it,” Clarkson said. “They’re kids, right. We’ll go back and do some team bonding stuff and get ready for tomorrow.”
The Predators got on the board with 3:42 to play in the game with a goal from Colin Roberts. Peller and Luke Backel both picked up assists on Nashville’s only goal. Noah Grolnic added another insurance goal for Colorado with 1:35 left on the clock and Valdez earned his second assist of game.
Three goals in the second period lifted the NJ Rockets past Shattuck St. Mary’s 3-2 on day two of pool play. Nicholas Delgaizo, Reese Judson and Marian Mosko each netted goals in the Rockets’ victory. Tyler Peddle scored both goals for Shattuck St. Mary’s and both were assisted by Gracyn Sawchyn and Ian Spencer.
After being tied with the Seacoast Spartans 1-1 heading into the final frame of regulation, the Sioux Falls Power scored three unanswered goals in the third period to secure their second win of the tournament, 4-1. Michael Karvelas led the Power with two points (1g, 1a).
Nicholas Moldenhauer and Quentin Musty both scored twice to boost the NJ Avalanche to a 5-0 victory against Fox Motors. Mick Thompson picked up three assists on the day and Musty finished the day with three points (2g, 1a).
Miles Roberts made the game-winning save on a penalty shot at the end of regulation to preserve the Anaheim Jr. Ducks' 1-0 victory over Honeybaked.
Matthew Dimarisco racked up five points and Braedon Ford tallied four points, to help Pittsburgh defeat the Gamblers 5-3. Dimarisco scored two goals and added three assists while Ford notched one goal and three assists.
Jett Otwell scored a goal and added two assists to help the Buffalo Saints shutout Dallas Stars Elite, 4-0. Buffalo goaltender Jack Fialkoff stopped 21 shots to earn the shutout.
Four different players scored to give the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies the 4-3 win over the RI Saints. Landon Fleming, Andrew Elliot, Travis Bryson and Jack Ohanisain comprised the goal scorers for Oakland. Bryson also recorded an assist to finish with two points.