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It’s Sweet Home, Chicago for Mission Tier I 18-U National champs

By Kent McDill, 04/11/10, 2:45PM MDT


The Chicago Mission, which plays out of tournament host Seven Bridges Ice Arena, defeated the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers 7-1 on Sunday to win the USA Hockey Tier I 18 & Under National Championship on home ice in Woodridge, Ill.

The National title was the first for Chicago Mission at the Tier I 18-U level.

After giving up the game’s first goal five minutes into the contest, the Mission scored twice in the second period and got five goals in the third to claim the title.

“We thought we had a good chance to win the tournament coming in,” Mission coach Anders Sorensen said.

Al Jarosz had two goals and three assists for the Mission in the game.

Donald Olivieri scored the game’s first goal, giving the Jr. Flyers a much-needed lift. They had finished their semifinal win over Russell Stover at 11 p.m. on Saturday and were playing on fumes.

“We got done kind of late, which was unfortunate, but that is to be expected,” Flyers coach Bud Dombrowski said. “I rely heavily on the forecheck in my game plan and we didn’t have that today.”

John Doherty tied the game midway through the second period, then Jarosz got his first goal with 3:41 left in the second period to give the Mission a 2-1 lead.

“Then in the third period we kind of opened the flood gates,” Sorensen said.

Sorensen gave the “three keys to real estate” answer to explaining the victory and the championship: Location, location, location.

“I think it helped to have home ice advantage,” Sorensen said. “The boys all slept in their own homes.”

Jarosz scored three goals and had six assists in the tournament to lead the Mission. Teammate Jordan Schmaltz had three goals and five assists. Alex Broadhurst was the leading goal-scorer in the tournament with five.

Mission goaltender Garrett Sparks stopped 24 of 25 shots to earn the victory. The Mission outshot the Flyers 38-25.

The Flyers’ Dan Dupell finished as the top scorer in the tournament with seven goals and two assists. Brian Christie added six assists for the Flyers.

The Mission already had a couple of wins over the Flyers from earlier in the season, dating back to an October meeting in the Beantown Classic, won 4-0 by the Mission. The Mission also beat the Flyers 7-1 at the Arctic Ice Tournament in November, but the Flyers beat the Mission in an exhibition at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in December.

Dombrowski said his team’s turnover is so great every year that advancing to the final game of the National tournament is an accomplishment.

“I know nobody expected us to go this far,” Dombrowski said.

The Mission defeated the Pittsburgh Hornets 3-1 in the quarterfinals on Saturday then topped Team Maryland 3-1 in the semifinal. The Flyers beat Detroit Belle Tire 5-2 in the quarterfinals and Russell Stover 10-2 in the last semifinal on Saturday.

The Mission finished the tournament with the two top goalkeepers based on goals-against. In two games, Eric Garavaglia gave up two goals out of 56 shots and Sparks gave up four goals out of 84 shots in four games.

Story courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.