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Solid Goaltending Leads Minnesota Walleye to Youth Tier II 14U 3A National Title

By Russell Jaslow, 04/07/24, 3:30PM MDT


Cooper Corona recorded a 17-save shutout in the title game.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. — Solid goaltending is a key to having success in any tournament.

In the 2024 Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Tier II 14U 3A National Championship, the Minnesota Walleye (MN) rode a tandem of excellent netminders to win the title, shutting out the St. Louis Sting (MS) 3-0 in the final.

Cooper Corona stopped all 17 shots for the shutout.

“It’s pretty good,” Corona said. “We had good defense around us. We prepared well even though we didn’t have much time to practice together.”

Corona and Brendan Lavender played three games each, culminating in the best performance of the week.

“It works really well,” Corona said of the tandem strategy. “We’re both evenly skilled. And we both had really good weekends.”

“So proud of him,” Minnesota coach Christian Jolicoeur said of Corona. “We roll two goalies. We don’t have a number one and a number two. They are both fantastic. He’s a young guy, 2010 birthday. He hasn’t played bantams yet. He’s played peewees last year. He told us he has no worries. He said, ‘I’m not worried, I haven’t lost since January.’”

Two goals in the second period, both off rebounds, were the deciding factor for the Walleye.

Kylar Cox put back a rebound at 8:37.

Wilson Lamberty had an easier time, as a rebound went behind the goalie, and Lamberty easily deposited it into a wide-open net at 11:57.

“In the first, I felt like we weren’t crashing the net,” Jolicoeur said. “We had some shots on net, but they were easy ones for the goalie to save. It was a really, really big point I was trying to make — to crash the net, get some traffic in front. And it worked. And we scored our goals.”

With over three minutes left on the clock, the Sting pulled their goalie, but they never gave themselves an opportunity. While trying to clear the puck from their own crease, they inadvertently knocked it into their goal, giving Minnesota the clinching third goal with 2:22 left. Charlie Nelson was credited with the goal.

“It was a good game,” St. Louis coach Cooper Seedott said. “Minnesota is a really good team. We knew that coming in. They utilized their speed through the neutral zone against us. Some bounces got their way, and they took it over from there. I’m proud of my team. We’ve come a long way in two years.”

Minnesota survived three overtime games in the tournament. After taking a one-goal regulation win over Los Angeles Jr. Kings (CA) to open the tournament, they needed extra periods to defeat St. Lawrence Steel (NY), Boston Jr. Huskies (MA) and Team North Dakota (ND) in the quarterfinals. A 4-2 win against the Texas Tigers in the semifinal game sent them to play on Sunday.

“I was pretty happy with how our players played,” Jolicoeur said. “We wanted to play defensively in the game especially after six games in a few days. We were missing a couple of guys due to injury and sickness.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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