TROY, Mich. — The Steel City Ice Renegades did all their scoring in the second period and never looked back, as they shut out the Chicago Hawks, 2-0, to win the 3A title game at the 2022 Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Tier ll 16U National Championships, which took place at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, Michigan.
Steel City goaltender Tyler Lang was stellar in net, stopping all 37 Hawks shots in an impressive effort. Lang set aside the perimeter shots as well as the tough saves, putting on a goaltending clinic throughout the game. The Hawks outshot the Renegades, 37-21, but could not find a way to beat Lang. Matthew Knizner led the way for the Renegades with a goal and an assist. After the game, Knizner was singing the praises of his team.
“This was one of the best games we played all year,” said Knizner. “Not only was our team excellent, but our goalie was fantastic. He was hands down the best goalie in this tournament. No doubt.”
Steel City head coach Patrick Martin echoed that sentiment.
“Tyler had a shutout in the national championship game,” said Martin. “What more do you need to say about him?”
In surrendering just two goals, Hawks goalie Cooper Darovic also played a great game to keep his team close.
“He has been a rock for our season all year long,” said Hawks head coach Jonathan Cannizzo. “He stood on his head for us today.”
After a scoreless first period in which the Hawks dominated the play, they were also ahead on the shot chart by a 14-5 margin. The Hawks also outshot the Renegades in the middle stanza 12-10, but not on the scoreboard. At 11:46, Steel City scored what proved to be the winning goal. Dante Scalise finished off a nice pass from Knizner. It was Scalise’s second of the tournament and it came while the Renegades were on the power play.
With less than five minutes left in second period, Steel City would add its second and final goal, which was at even strength. Knizner potted the goal on the rebound after Darovic made the initial save on a shot from Colten Humphrey.
“I saw Colten’s shot hit the net,” explained Knizner. “And all I had to do was bury it, which was what I did.”
The third period consisted of three minor penalties. The first at 16:22, as Michael Ryndak of the Hawks was called for cross-checking. The next two infractions would go to the Renegades. The first was a bench minor for too many players on the ice and finally at 5:56 Jameson Yackmack was sent off for roughing.
The game was a fast-paced one with very few whistles and the Hawks had some great chances throughout the game. Chicago outshot Steel City in each period including 11-6 in the final period. Cannizzo was impressed with the overall game by the Renegades.
“It was a really good hockey game and they are a really well coached team,” said Cannizzo. “They are a good team and they play hard. Steel City is both a good offensive team as well as a strong defensive team. They took advantages of their opportunities.”
Even though Cannizzo did not like the final result, he felt good about how his team played against not only the Ice Renegades but all week long against some top, tough teams.
“This game was not the result we wanted,” said Cannizzo. “But it was a great season overall for us and I am really proud of the boys who gave me their all.”
His counterpart Martin too expressed pride in his players and how they battled throughout the tournament to accomplish their goal.
“Our team did what we came out to do and that was becoming national champions.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.