TROY, Mich. — It’s hard enough to win one national title, let alone repeat as champions.
Ashburn Xtreme captain Kyle Tinschert now knows that well. As the youngest player on last year’s team, he scored the overtime goal that won the national championship, and now finds himself a two-time national champ as the Xtreme topped the Maine Gladiators 6-3 in the 2A title game of the 2022 Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Tier II 16U National Championships to once again reign supreme.
The Xtreme of Virginia didn’t require any overtime heroics this year, as they never trailed. Forward William Schneider was this year’s hero as he paced the Xtreme attack scoring a hat trick, as part of a four-point effort. Forward Paul Allison contributed a pair of goals as well and Jarrett Ireland also found the back of the net with 35 seconds to play in the game. Ashburn head coach Brian Fleury took over the duties this season with the pressure to repeat.
“I was chosen to be the new guy here this season, after I was given the opportunity to take these young guys and we got it done,” said a smiling Fleury. “It was a very huge role to fill, just huge shoes to fill, but we came out this year with some ups and downs and we fought back with some adversity in recent weeks. We have been on a roll coming into the national championships and I could not be prouder of these boys.”
Give the Maine Gladiators a lot of credit, as they would not go down easy. The Gladiators fell behind 3-0 and fought back to make it 3-2, only to watch the Xtreme increase their lead by a pair. Like true Gladiators, they once again pulled to within one goal, but that was as close as they got. Xtreme goaltender Will Mellen said the Gladiators were an extremely tough team to play against.
“They wanted it just as much as us,” recalled Mellen after the game. “But we pushed just a little bit harder and that’s how we picked up the win.”
For the game Ashburn outshot Maine, 31-28, and took a 2-0 lead in the first period. Schneider opened the scoring from Joseph Greenlund at 15:12. Allison netted the next goal at 11:21.
“I was going down on a rush with the puck,” said Allison, describing his first goal. “I kind of pulled it to the middle and I went top shelf on his stick side.”
Schneider scored his second goal at 14:29 of the second period to increase the lead to 3-0 and it seemed that the Xtreme had things under control.
But back came the Gladiators with the next two goals to narrow the lead to 3-2.
Miles Frenette, who was the offensive spark plug for Maine with a goal and an assist, scored at 12:23. With less then four minutes left in the middle period, Tanner Anctil scored his fourth goal of the tournament at 3:57, with assists going to Tate Morse and Frenette, to put the Gladiators back in the game. Schneider finished off his hat trick 49 seconds later from Greenlund and Street, and Ashburn skated to their dressing room with a 4-2 lead heading into the third. Schneider, who finished the tournament with 10 goals and 16 points, gave credit to his teammates.
“It was all my line,” said Schneider. “On the first one Joey [Greenlund] gave me a breakaway pass, the second one, Landon [Street] had a great pass that I scored on a rebound shot and on the third one Joey set me up with a wide-open tap in.”
Nicholas Pelletier got Maine within striking distance from Campbell Cassidy at 4-3, but a pair of goals from Allison and Ireland closed out the scoring and the celebration was on. After the game Fleury praised the Gladiators for their never say die effort.
“Maine is a very good hockey team, they were fast and strong,” said Fleury. “But we were the fortunate team today and we just outplayed them.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.