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Bethel Park Players Shine En Route to High School Title

By Nick Beaulieu - Special to USAHockey.com, 03/31/14, 6:15PM MDT

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OMAHA, Neb. -- Bethel Park’s Chris Siak led his team to victory at the Toyota-USA Hockey High School National Championships this weekend, and he did so while scoring a tournament-high 14 points. Siak had a goal in five of his team’s six games, including the equalizing goal in the championship game. He also scored two goals in Bethel Park’s opening game against Cherry Creek (CO), when the Pittsburgh-based Blackhawks won 9-2.

Siak’s passing and vision were also on display over the weekend. The forward had four assists in the Cherry Creek game, two against Des Moines (IA) and one in the championship game on the game-winning goal. Bethel Park coach Jim McVay told the Pittsburg Post-Gazette that Siak is one of the best goal-scorers he has ever seen, and McVay has coached NHL players such as Ryan Malone and R.J. Umberger.

Tyler Runyan and Drew Bengston of Stoneman Douglas (FL) finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Reed Tarter of Plano (TX) was tied for third with 11 points while Dylan Ritterhaus of Brookings (SD) had 10 points.

Goal Stopping

Bethel Park goalie William Lowe III was one of the best performing goalies of the tournament. The sophomore had a save percentage of .953 and made 81 saves over four games. Lowe only allowed four goals throughout the tournament.

In his matchup against Des Moines, Lowe allowed only one goal on 32 shots. He gave a lot of credit to his defensemen after the championship game.

“I couldn’t ask for better defensemen,” he said. “Our defense is so good; they blocked probably 20 shots for me, clearing the puck for me. It’s awesome.”

Tyler Roesch of North Royalton (OH) led the tournament with 119 saves, but he gave up eight goals to Stoneman Douglas and six to Des Moines, which peppered him with 49 shots.

Other strong goalkeeping efforts came from Eric Main of Des Moines, who had four wins in the tournament to go with 64 saves and an .889 save percentage, and Lane Miller of Plano, who had three wins to go with 100 saves and an .893 save percentage.

Pool Play a Poor Predictor

The eight teams that made it out of pool play included Bethel Park, Sioux Falls, Des Moines, North Royalton, Brookings, Providence Catholic (IL), Plano West and Waterloo (IA).

Brookings, despite having a plus-25 goal differential in pool play, fell to Providence Catholic 7-3 in the quarterfinals.

Plano West also put on a dominating performance in pool play, winning three games and having plus-13 goal differential. But Plano also fell to Providence 4-2 in the semifinals.

Providence went on to face Bethel Park in the championship game but lost 2-1.

Omaha’s Stage

The high school national championships took place in Omaha, Neb., with the Omaha Junior Lancers serving as hosts. The 32-team tournament was a major event for the area, which took in volunteers and efforts from many people throughout Omaha and within the Junior Lancers program.

“It’s something completely different because it’s on a national stage, especially being a hometown team, a lot of people are there to watch,” Junior Lancers assistant coach Nick Harrahill said.

Something that was missing from last year’s tournaments: Santa Margarita (CA), the 2013 champion, was not in the field of 32.

However, plenty of scouts from junior and college programs were in attendance.

“A lot of the [North American 3 Hockey League] scouts were there. I know I saw some Midland [University] coaches there, and there’s definitely some scouts that were in the stands watching the boys,” Harrahill said.

The tournament moves to Chesterfield Mo. for the 2015 edition.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.


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