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Two Quick Goal Flurries Earn the Sioux City Metros a National Title

By Tom Robinson, 03/24/24, 4:45PM MDT


A three-goal third period helped the Metros pull away from the East Islip Chiefs in the title game.

WEST CHESTER, Pa. – The Sioux City Metros (IA) were at their most dangerous immediately after scoring Sunday.

The Metros scored goals 20 seconds apart in the second period and 15 seconds apart in the third to turn back the East Islip Chiefs (NY) 5-2 in the Division II final of the 2024 Chipotle-USA Hockey High School National Championships at the Ice Line Quad Rinks.

“If you get the first one, it’s a big momentum swing,” said Karson Fitch, who scored the game-winner in the third period. “But, when you come back and bury two right away, it’s huge for the team.”

Nathan Solma set up Fitch in the slot for the winner. He shared the tournament lead of 10 goals and led the Metros with 15 points in the tournament.

“He’s one of those guys who skates well, who shoots well, who sees the game different from everyone else and is able to slow the game down,” Sioux City coach Jesse Monell said. “When you have a guy like that, you have to find the pieces to surround him with. We have a couple guys like that this year and we have a great defensive core and some good wingers. You can’t do it yourself, but we’re lucky enough to have a guy like that and a team around him so we can succeed.”

Sioux City and East Islip came into the final 5-0 in the tournament with a combined victory margin of 77-15.

They played on even terms until Sioux City’s third-period outburst; the game was scoreless through one period and tied 2-2 after two.

game highlights

Anthony Marazzito scored unassisted on the power play to put the Chiefs up 1-0 early in the second period. The score remained at 1-0 for 11:27 until the teams combined for three goals in 37 seconds.

Sioux City’s quick scoring accounted for tying and go-ahead goals in the second period, then the game-winning and insurance goals in the third.

Hunter Echter tied it, and Tegan Doelman gave Sioux City its first lead. Then Bryan Slattery tied the game for East Islip.

Again, the game remained tied through a lengthy stretch until the Metros went on a power play with 4:19 left and scored 43 seconds in. Fitch won a faceoff in the left offensive circle and Solma got the puck on the right side before sending it into the slot for Fitch to get off his game-winner. Solma scored 15 seconds later to make it 4-2.

Winning goalie Cameron Patrick stropped a penalty shot with 1:21 left to protect the two-goal lead, which Fitch expanded by scoring his second goal of the game into an empty net with 1:03 left.

On top of the five goals, Sioux City held the tournament’s top three scorers without a point in the final.

Ryan Anatra had 10 goals and 13 assists in East Islip’s first five games. Anthony Pepe added eight goals and 11 assists while Thomas Ivers had six goals and nine assists.

For Solma and defenseman Grant Harder, the national title was the culmination of a four-year climb, as they’ve both been on the team since their freshman year.

“We played how we wanted to play,” Solma said. “It was a great experience.

“Last year we won our state tournament, which was pretty cool, but we were a couple points short in our league of coming to nationals. Coming here this year and doing this was awesome.”

Although the margins of victory were consistently comfortable, Monell said his team was adjusting throughout the five-day tournament.

“It’s different than league level,” Monell said. “You definitely have to prepare your players all year long to change your style, to adapt to styles, to take away strengths and find a weakness. There were very unique teams we played and we had to make changes and minor adjustments all five games.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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