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Atlantic District Boys Notebook: Russian influence helps Wilkes-Barre/Scranton return to nationals

By Tom Robinson - Special to, 03/20/13, 6:15PM MDT


WEST CHESTER, Pa. — The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, using a roster with a strong Russian influence, captured the USA Hockey Tier I 14-and-Under national title in Williamsville, N.Y. last year.

Now the Knights, with a dozen of the same players, have earned a trip to Pittsburgh in April for a chance to win another national title on the Tier I 16U level.

Nikita Anistratenko and Ivan Provorov earned their second shots at a national title by scoring the late game-winning goals March 15 and 16 when Wilkes-Barre/Scranton swept the New Jersey Titans in a best-of-three series for the Atlantic District title at the Ice Line Quad Rinks.

Anistratenko’s overtime goal decided the first game, 5-4.

Provorov scored with 4:38 left in regulation of a 4-3 win that sent the team to nationals.

The district title continued a successful season in which the Knights became the first team to go undefeated in the Atlantic Youth Hockey League regular season and playoffs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton gave up just 39 goals in 24 games.

Denis Smirnov, Provorov and Nikita Pavlychev, all carryovers from the national champions, averaged more than a point per game to lead the balanced scoring attack. Nicholas Vilardo, another returnee, had a 1.38 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in the AYHL.

David Eifert, Eugene Fadyeyev, Louis DeNaples, Jean-Sebastien Taillefer, Elijah Latimer, Marcus Joseph and Derek Hamelin are also pursuing a second straight title along with coach Oleksandr Vasko.

Provorov scored his second goal of the game with 4:07 left in the Atlantic District opener for a 4-3 lead. Scott Huber scored unassisted with 2:15 left to tie the game for the Titans.

Anistratenko scored the winner on an assist from Jimmy Elser.

Andrey Svistunov made 33 saves for the Knights in the second game. Glab Shashkov scored two goals in the win.

Team Comcast wins Tier I 18U

Team Comcast, from Pennsauken, N.J., swept the Philadelphia Junior Flyers 6-3 and 8-5 in a best-of-three series for the Tier I 18U title and a nationals berth.

Louis Dell’Ermo scored two goals in the first game. Ron Greco and Alex Gleason added a goal and an assist each while Tim Feoli had two assists. Dillon Gravenstine made 20 saves.

Nick Master had two goals and Eric Carreras two assists for the Flyers.

Alec Weinberg had two goals and an assist, Dwyer Tschantz two goals and Eric Robinson one goal and two assists in the second game for Comcast.

Nick Master was involved in all the Flyers’ scoring with two goals and three assists.

Other Qualifiers

Four teams earned national tournament berths a week earlier at the North East Skate Zone in Philadelphia while four teams landed spots uncontested.

The Ice Dogs from Hatfield won the right to represent Eastern Pennsylvania on the Tier II 18U and 14U levels. The Warwick Wildcats claimed the Eastern Pennsylvania spot in Tier II 16U.

The Red Bank Generals advanced from New Jersey in Tier II 14U. The Princeton Tigers (18U) and Jaguars (16U) will also represent New Jersey on the Tier II level.

The Delaware Ducks will represent Delaware in the Tier II 16U and 14U levels.

Both Ice Dogs teams, Warwick and Red Bank had a shutout in their two-game sweeps during best-of-three series to decide the district titles.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Atlantic District Tournament Champions

Youth Tier I
14U: New Jersey Devils Youth
16U: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
18U: Team Comcast

Youth Tier II
14U: Delaware -- Delaware Ducks
14U: Eastern Pennsylvania -- Ice Dogs
14U: New Jersey -- Red Bank Generals
16U: Delaware -- Delaware Ducks
16U: Eastern Pennsylvania -- Warwick Wildcats
16U: New Jersey -- Jaguars
18U: Eastern Pennsylvania -- Ice Dogs
18U: New Jersey -- Princeton Tigers

Girls Tier I
14-U: New Jersey Colonials
16-U: New Jersey Colonials
19-U: New Jersey Colonials
Girls Tier II
14-U: New Jersey Colonials
16-U: Princeton (N.J.) Tiger Lilies
19-U: New Jersey Colonials