BYRON CENTER, Mich. — The Atlanta Fire earned the 1A title in the 2021 USA Hockey-Chipotle Youth Tier II 16U National Championships, defeating Team South Dakota by a score of 4-3 in overtime.
The championship game featured teams that came out of the same pool play group, but finished in reverse order. South Dakota went undefeated while earning nine points and finished in first, while Atlanta went 2-1, earning six points and finishing in second place.
Both teams started out the title game strong on the offensive side of the puck, as they each scored a goal within the first two minutes of the contest.
Atlanta put a goal on the board first just over a minute in thanks to a tally from Carter Wallace off of assists from Connor Sandkuhler and Mitchell McCusker. The Fire’s lead, however, wouldn’t last long as South Dakota responded right back to tie the game up with a goal from Corey Perdaems off of an assist from Dawson Wirth.
South Dakota would net its second goal of the night roughly eight minutes into the first period to take a 2-1 as Cade Edwards netted the go-ahead goal off of assists from DeAndre Berndt and Ashton Griese. South Dakota would take a 2-1 lead going into the second period.
Fire would tie the game up, 2-2, late within the first three minutes of the second period as Wallace netted his second goal of the night from Hayden Ratliff and Ivan Korodiuk. After the goal, Atlanta would be first to go to the penalty box as Tyler Stewart went to the box for tripping. With five minutes left in the second, South Dakota went to the box for elbowing. The contest would go into the third period all knotted up.
Both Atlanta and South Dakota went to the box and it was a 4-on-4 to start the period. Atlanta would take the lead for the first time of the game early into the third as they went up, 3-2, thanks to an unassisted goal from Matthew Wise. However, the Fire wouldn’t be able to maintain the lead for long and South Dakota would tie up the game 3-3 with a goal from Camden Ponto and the contest would go into overtime. Atlanta’s defense stepped up in the third and handled the South Dakota offense well, as South Dakota had 10 shots on goal which was the most in one period from either team.
Atlanta would go on to score the game-winning goal just 47 seconds into the extra frame via Tyler Stewart with Trevor Stewart assisting and take the 1A championship game by a score of 4-3.
Both teams played very disciplined hockey and seemed to be evenly matched through the entirety of the contest. Atlanta and South Dakota each only went to the penalty box twice and successfully killed off both of their penalties.
Although Atlanta claimed victory, South Dakota was the offensively dominant team as they outshot Atlanta, 37-23.
The three skaters who were crucial for the Fire today were Wallace, Tyler Stewart and Matthew Wise. Wallace earned two points off of two goals to be the team’s top scorer. Tyler Stewart scored and Matthew Stewart both scored one goal on the day.
Fire goaltender Savva Serdiuk had a .919 save percentage along with stopping 34 pucks and allowing three goals.
South Dakota spread its offense out evenly as three different skaters scored their three goals. Perdaems, Ponto and Edwards all scored one goal and earned one assist for South Dakota.
South Dakota’s goaltender Kade Brecher stopped 19 shots.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.