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Shattuck 18-U Tier I boys back on top after 3-1 win over Mid Fairfield Blues

By Lindsay Fetzner, 04/03/11, 7:30PM MDT


After a two-year hiatus, Shattuck-St. Mary’s is back on top in the boys 18-U Tier I division. The Minnesota-based prep school, home to the USA Hockey national champions in 2007 and ’08, pulled out a 3-1 victory over the Mid Fairfield Blues on Sunday at the 2011 USA Hockey National Championships in Simsbury, Conn.

“It is a thrill for us,” Shattuck coach Tom Ward said.

Shattuck earned its spot in the final by defeating the DC Capitals 3-0 in the quarterfinals. They went on to top the Greater Boston Junior Bruins 4-3 in overtime in the semifinals.

Ward said the championship win was a great way to end the long hockey season.

“We’re in hockey country in Minnesota,” Ward said.

Ward said he was proud of the seniors on the team for stepping up during the tournament and being leaders among the other, younger players.

“We had some really good leadership from the group of seniors,” he said.

And, with the added pressure of several scouts keeping a close eye on all of the games, Ward concluded, “This national tournament environment is great for these kids.”

Although the first two periods of the final game went scoreless, there was stiff competition from both teams during the third period. The teams combined for one minor penalty in the game.

Forward Zach Stepan gave Shattuck a 1-0 lead with 16:33 to play in the third period. Ted Blueger had the assist.

Mere seconds later, forward Nick Finn answered for the Blues. His goal with 16:25 to play was assisted by Jack Barre and Matt Caito.

With 5:56 left, Shattuck defenseman Bryan Sinz scored the game-winning goal on an assist by Nicholas Weberg. Defenseman John Draeger

Although it appeared the third period would draw to a close with Shattuck St. Mary’s one point lead, the team scored yet again with only 25 seconds left in the game.

Defenseman John Draeger scored an empty-net goal to give Shattuck the final 3-1 score.

Shattuck goaltender Peter Traber made 42 saves, while Mid Fairfield Blues counterpart Gryphon Richardson had 32. Traber had a .966 save percentage for the tournament, and Richardson ended at .932.

Mid Fairfield coach Doug Messier said he thought his team had played terrific during the tournament. The Blues defeated the St. Louis AAA Blues 4-2 in the quarterfinals and the Colorado Thunderbirds 3-1 in the semifinals.

“We’re in a unique situation where we don’t spend a lot of time together as a team,” Messier said. It’s the result of many of the Mid Fairfield Blues’ players attending prep schools in the area. “In today’s game, we were right there. It was a good game.”

Story courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.