FRISCO, Tex. — Even early in the Chipotle-USA Hockey High School Division I National Championship, Shattuck-St. Mary’s was the acknowledged team to beat.
The team from Faribault, Minn., went wire-to-wire to win, never trailing in six games and they outscored opponents, 51-7. In Monday’s championship game, the Sabres defeated Stevenson High School from Lincolnshire, Ill., 5-1.
The closest game was in Sunday’s semifinals against the defending champion Springfield Rifles of Massachusetts, which tied Shattuck twice before losing, 5-3.
In the championship game, Shattuck-St. Mary’s broke out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. After a second-period lull, SSM outshot Stevenson, 16-7, and scored twice more in a dominating third period.
“We really started well,” first-year head coach Teddy Doherty said. “I knew we would win when we scored with three seconds left.”
Ryan Embley scored the first goal on the power play 8:20 into the game. At 14:41, Kaeden Hawkins scored, and Max Morehead was the one to boost the lead just before the horn.
As good as Shattuck-St. Mary’s star-studded roster had been, new stars emerged at Nationals.
“Max Morehead scored three goals during the season, and then had five here,” Doherty said. “Michael Fitzgerald had 30 points during the season [in 62 games] and had 12 assists.”
Fitzgerald, who assisted on the last goal in the first period, had an explanation.
“Being the final tournament as a Shattuck player, I wanted to take it day by day, shift by shift, and be spending more time with the boys.”
Even in Monday’s second period, when Stevenson’s Maximo Poretto scored the only goal, a majority of the scoring chances had gone the way of the Sabres.
“We had trouble with the second period all year,” Doherty said.
Neither team scored again until 12:31 of the third period. Ethan Skowronek took a pass from Kieran Ronan for a 4-1 lead.
“We knew they were going to come at us hard,” Ronan said. “Guys were really happy to see that three change to a four.”
Whatever air was in Stevenson’s balloon deflated 46 seconds later with the second goal of the game for Hawkins. His 11 goals were the most by any player at High School Division I Nationals.
Four of the top five individual scorers were from Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Alexander Dell led the field with 14 assists and 20 points. Hawkins was next with 18 points, Skowronek had 17 and Fitzgerald was tied for fourth with 12.
“Hawkins has been our leading scorer all year,” Doherty said. “He defends our end and he’s a leader.”
Shattuck-St. Mary’s post-season road to the national championship may have been relatively trouble-free, but the regular season was more difficult.
“The seniors have gone through some adversity,” Doherty said. “We’ve had injuries, but guys were battling every day. It was a grind, but guys just bought in.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.