WEST CHESTER, Pa. – The Warwick Wildcats and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights reached the national semifinals last year. They earned another shot at the Toyota-USA Hockey Youth National Championships with big efforts in decisive games Sunday during the Atlantic District Tournament at the Ice Line Quad Rinks.
Warwick features 10 players from the team that reached the 16U Tier II 3A semifinals last year in Troy, Mich. The Wildcats will be closer to home in Wayne, N.J. this year for the 18U Tier II championships.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has four players back from the team that reached the 16U Tier I semifinals last year in Pittsburgh. The Knights are back at the same level, heading to Green Bay, Wis., as repeat 16U Tier I champions from the Atlantic.
Winning Wildcats stick together
Jerry Soule, Trevor Weidman, Cole Marano, Ryan Meinke, Gregory Saklad, Sam Kroh, Mason Wilson, Tim Browne, Eric Bozzi and Mike Mason all return from Warwick’s 2013 bronze-medal team.
“A lot of these guys have been in it,” Wildcats coach Jeff Montagna said. “We have a lot of experience. They’ve played a lot of big games in their life.”
After Warwick split the first two games with York, Tim Browne made 33 saves in Sunday’s 5-1 win over York to take the best-of-three series.
“He gives us a chance to win every game,” Montagna said.
Warwick’s Brian Barker scored two goals while Marano had a goal and an assist Sunday.
Matt Iehle scored twice, including the game-winning goal, in Friday’s 6-5 overtime win for Warwick.
The Wildcats cut into a four-goal deficit in the final 8:37 Saturday, but fell short, 4-3. Tyler Gettel had two goals and an assist while Alex Smith had a goal and an assist for York in the win.
York is the only non-championship team from the district that is headed to nationals anyway as an at-large entry in the event that the district is hosting.
Knights looking for more
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights have Elijah Latimer, David Eifert, Nikita Anistratenko, Eugene Fadyeyev and coach Oleksandr Vasko back from the team that reached the Tier I 16U national semifinals last year. They were all also part of the Tier I 14U national championship squad in 2012 along with Gavin Lewis, Paul DeNaples and Michael Morrisey.
Eric DePretoro scored an unassisted goal 8:10 into the second overtime Friday to give Team Comcast a 4-3 victory over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but the Knights bounced back to win the next two games.
Morrisey had two goals and Fadyeyev had three assists Saturday in a 5-3 win .
Fadyedev, Vladislav Dzhloshvill and Jared McCracken scored Sunday when the Knights withstood a late goal and 37 Team Comcast penalty minutes for a 3-1 victory.
Jake Hamacher had two assists and Lewis made 23 saves in the clinching win.
Junior Flyers, Team Comcast win Tier I titles
The 18U Philadelphia Junior Flyers, playing at their home rink, qualified for the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier I Youth National Championships for the 16th time by sweeping a high-scoring, best-of-three series from Team Comcast, 7-6 and 9-5.
Friday’s opener went to a second 10-minute overtime where it was decided on Ryan Brawley’s second goal of the game. Andrew Romano and Kevin Charyszyn had a goal and an assist each.
Charyszyn and Tiernan Seningan had two goals each in Saturday’s win. Eric Carreras had a goal and two assists while Andrew Romano had three assists.
Team Comcast, based in Pennsauken, N.J., won the Atlantic Tier I 14U title under coach Derian Hatcher, a two-time U.S. Olympian and a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
After winning 5-4 in overtime Friday and losing 3-2 Saturday against the Philadelphia Junior Flyers, Team Comcast broke out for an 8-2 romp Sunday behind two goals by Mattias Samuelsson.
“I thought in the first two days we played well but were a little unlucky,” said Hatcher, who became the first American-born captain of a Stanley Cup winner with the Dallas Stars in 1999. “We had a ton of chances, but we hit three posts in each game.
“When things are going the other way in this game, you never know, but the kids kept battling.”
Tyler Pohlig scored the overtime game-winner Friday and also had an assist. Gavin Gulash had two goals and Samuelsson two assists.
Tyler Gratton’s goal with 2:02 left Saturday lifted the Junior Flyers to the win.
The Hollydell Hurricanes defeated the Skylands Kings in three games in the only New Jersey Tier II title to be determined along with the district and eastern Pennsylvania championships in West Chester.
Zack Faust had two goals and two assists while J.D. George added two goals and an assist in Sunday’s 7-2 romp in the third game.
New Jersey’s other Tier II titles were decided in November. The Delaware Ducks are their state representative in all three Tier II age groups.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Tier I Youth
14U: Team Comcast
16U: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
18U: Philadelphia Junior Flyers
Tier II Youth
14U, Eastern Pennsylvania: Warwick
14U, New Jersey: Hollydell Hurricanes
14U, Delaware: Delaware Ducks
16U, Eastern Pennsylvania: Grundy
16U, New Jersey: Red Brick Generals
16U, Delaware: Delaware Ducks
18U, Eastern Pennsylvania: Warwick
18U, New Jersey: Brick Hockey Club
18U, Delaware: Delaware Ducks
18U, At Large: York