PITTSBURGH — Mitchell Lewandowski’s second goal of the game was the biggest of his career.
Lewandowski scored at 5:15 of the second overtime, propelling Detroit-based Honeybaked to a 3-2 victory against Shattuck-St. Mary’s and the 2013 USA Hockey Tier I 14-and-Under national championship Sunday in Pittsburgh.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Lewandowski said. “It was pretty amazing.”
The victory gives the Honeybaked 14U team its first national championship since 2010 and fourth since 1999.
“I’m a little overwhelmed,” said Honeybaked coach Pat Peake. “It’s been a special year. I’ve coached hockey for a long time, and there’s no question that this is the best group.”
Honeybaked had all the offense in the second overtime.
Lewandowski ended it midway through during a two-on-one-rush, squeezing a wrist shot underneath the arm of Shattuck goaltender Ryan Edquist.
“I slid it right under his blocker, and I saw it behind in the net,” Lewandowski said. “I didn’t know it went in. I was in shock.”
Honeybaked wouldn’t have captured the national championship had it not been for Michael Pastujov’s late third-period heroics to force overtime.
Honeybaked trailed 2-1 late in the third but got a chance to tie when Shattuck’s Logan Hutsko was sent off for high sticking with 1:58 remaining.
Honeybaked pulled goaltender Michael Latorella, creating a 6-on-4 advantage, and Pastujov came through, forcing overtime with 50.9 seconds remaining, after redirecting a Lewandowski pass behind Edquist.
“He’s a goal scorer,” Peake said of Pastujov. “We saw something back door and the kids executed.”
Hutsko and Niko Karamanis had the goals for Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ranked No. 2 behind Honeybaked entering the national championships. Edquist made 19 saves.
“The Shattuck program is first class,” Peake said. “The team is so disciplined and they’re so well structured. If you make one mistake you’re in trouble.”
Both clubs played a scoreless first overtime. Honeybaked goaltender Michael Latorella coming up with a key glove save on Shattuck’s James Greenway, who also delivered two punishing open-ice checks during the same shift. Latorella stopped 20 shots.
The two teams started the game with first-period power play goals scored just 1:44 apart.
Lewandowski helped Honeybaked draw first blood at 8:45, sending a blast from the point behind Edquist.
“Mitch has been the leader of our team all year,” Peake said. “He’s such a high-skilled and unique player. Every time we need something we look to [Lewandowski] and he delivers every time.”
Karamanis responded soon after for Shattuck to tie the game. Graham McPhee’s initial shot from the right wing circle hit the post, but Karamanis found a loose puck in the crease during a net-mouth scramble.
Both teams played through a scoreless second period, but Hutsko broke the tie 2:11 into the third, sneaking a wrist shot through Latorella’s five hole from the faceoff dot.
Edquist kept Shattuck ahead, denying Lewandowski on a partial breakaway and Patrick Khodorenko from the top of the crease minutes later. But Honeybaked wouldn’t go away as Pastujov’s power-play goal late in the third forced overtime.
“Power plays have to be special,” Lewandowski said. “That was pretty special for us.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.