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Mid-Am Youth Notebook: Open Looks Help deYoung, Culver Win Tier I 18U Title

By Paul Batterson - Special to USAHockey.com, 03/17/14, 4:00PM MDT

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POWELL, Ohio -- In the middle of the Mid-American district Tier I 18-and-Under championship game on Sunday, the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets gave Tucker deYoung an open look at the goal, and the Culver (Ind.) Academy forward made them pay for it. DeYoung scored the first of his two goals to carry the Indiana team to a 4-1 victory at the OhioHealth Chiller North in Powell, Ohio.

“Tucker’s a goal scorer,” said Culver coach Steve Palmer, whose team qualified for its first trip to the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier I Youth National Championships April 2-6 in Green Bay, Wis. “If you give him a little bit of time, he can usually make it stand up in the back of the net. They left him open a little bit and he buried both of his chances.”

Culver averaged 4.3 goals per game in the three tournament games leading into the 18U final. Even after being held scoreless through the first 27 minutes of the championship, deYoung knew it was just a matter of time before his team got on track.

“This is a great team effort overall,” deYoung said. “We didn’t have the best first period, but we persevered and put a couple in the back of the net.”

Karch Bachman and Matt Donnelly also scored, and goaltender Nick MacNab made 15 saves for Culver. Goaltender Bailey Seagraves made 35 saves and Ryan Solomon had a goal for the Blue Jackets.

“That was a pretty solid performance defensively the whole game,” Palmer said. “This has been our goal all season. The kids all wanted a trip to nationals. It’s nice to see all that hard work pay off.”

Hats off performances by Walsh lift Penguins Elite

Liam Walsh picked the right time to have a big weekend. The forward had back-to-back hat trick games to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite to the Mid-Am Tier I 14U championship.

A day after scoring three goals in a 4-1 win over Cleveland Barons, Walsh added three more goals in a 7-2 win over the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets in the title game.

“My line mates knew I had a hot hand coming in,” said Walsh, whose team also advanced to the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier I Youth National Championships. “Yesterday they fed me the puck. Today they did it again.”

Walsh hoped his hot hand continued on Monday. He and his high school team, Pittsburgh’s Bishop Canevin, will play in the Penguins Cup for the Western Pennsylvania regional championship. The winner takes on the winner of the Flyers Cup for the Pennsylvanian state championship.

“It should be a lot of fun. It’s a lot like these games. Everyone is pretty hyped up,” Walsh said. “I think it does help you have the intensity going all ready, you don’t have get up for the games.”

Shorter Shots

Teams representing three different states bagged championships at the Mid-Am Tier I tournament, with Indiana’s Culver Academy (18U), the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets (16U) and Pennsylvania’s Penguins Elite (14U) winning the titles. … All the cliffhangers on the first two days of the tournament made the finals seem a little anticlimactic. Eight of the 24 18U and 16U tournament games were decided by a goal, with four overtime games and three shootouts. Both the Blue Jackets, who defeated the Cleveland Barons 5-4 in a shootout, and Culver, which knocked off Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 3-2 in a shootout, ended shootouts to make the 18U final. … Ohio needed an empty net goal by Carson Meyer with 1:30 left to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 1-0 on Saturday and advance to the 16U final. The Penguins needed to defeat the Blue Jackets in regulation to have a shot at advancing to the final.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

District Champions

Youth Tier I

14U: Pittsburgh Penguins Elite

16U: Ohio AAA Blue Jackets

18U: Culver (Ind.) Academy

Ohio Tier II Youth

14U: Cleveland Barons

16U: Toledo Cherokee

18U: Team Ohio

Pennsylvania Tier II Youth

14U: Erie Lions

16U: n/a

18U: Mid State Mustangs

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