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New Challenge, Same Results as Shattuck Sweeps Minnesota Titles

By Tom Robinson - Special to, 03/16/15, 11:15PM MDT


Usually unopposed, Shattuck-St. Mary’s had to win tournaments at the Tier I 18U and 16U levels to reach nationals this year

Unopposed as the Minnesota representative for years, Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a private boarding school in Faribault, Minn., had to play its way into the Toyota-USA Hockey Youth National Championships for the first time this year.

Challenged in four-team tournaments in two of three age groups, the Sabers still won their way into the Tier I 18U and 16U national championships. The school also will represent Minnesota on the Tier I 14U level.

“There are no guarantees in anything,” said Tom Ward, the director of hockey and the coach of the Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep Team that is the defending Tier I 18U national champions. “There’s a little bit of a parachute with the four at-large bids that they have, and you hope to put yourself in a position to be under consideration for one of those if it doesn’t work out your way, but you’re definitely a little bit more appreciative.”

“If you get in for free, you don’t appreciate it.”

The Shattuck-St. Mary’s 18U team won its third title in four years last season and its ninth since 1999.

Ben Umhoefer coached the 16U team through its Minnesota tournament title.

“Certainly our kids knew what was at stake,” Umhoefer said of the win that came as part of a championship doubleheader in Blaine March 12. “To say that we weren’t excited after winning the game would be a lie. Of course we were.”

“Was there pressure with the reputation our program has and the first year of having to play our way into the tournament? Absolutely. It was something we were focused on and talked about as a team.”

“It feels good to play your way into the tournament.”

All three Shattuck-St. Mary’s teams are headed to Buffalo for nationals March 26-30.

Minnesota Blades Give Shattuck 18U Team a Scare

After beating Bauer Emerson 9-0 in the Minnesota 18U semifinals, the Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep team was pushed to the limit just to get back to nationals.

Vincent de Mey’s goal with 1:30 remaining lifted Shattuck-St. Mary’s over the Minnesota Blades, 3-2.

“There’s all kinds of good high school-aged hockey players here in the state of Minnesota,” Ward said. “You put an all-star team together and you’ve got your hands full.”

Forwards Ryan Norman and Colt Conrad and defensemen Jordan Klehr and Collin Saccoman return from last year’s championship squad.

Klehr and Norman, Minnesota natives, are second and third on the team in assists behind Conrad, a Canadian-born player who leads the team in all scoring categories.

Grant Mismash, another Minnesota player and one of only two sophomores on the roster, is second in goals scored and points. Jacob Paganelli, from Verona, N.J., is third in points.

The other sophomore, Scott Reedy, is fifth on the team in points and a proven player on the national level. He was the leading scorer for the 14U team at nationals last season and scored two goals in the 4-2 championship game victory over Chicago Mission.

Shattuck-St. Mary’s is 31-11-5, including going 3-1 playing against U20 Elite teams during a trip to Finland between Christmas and New Years.

“That was a great trip for the kids and a good experience,” Ward said. “We try to mix in some kind of international experience with their team. I think it’s important for the kids to have that in their hip pocket if they ever get a chance to play overseas in an international team event or if they end up playing overseas.”

“I think it’s a good hockey education.”

Shattuck 16Us Still Seeking First National Title

Shattuck-St. Mary’s is still in pursuit of its first 16U national title. The latest team will try to change that after beating the Minnesota Magicians 7-3 in the Minnesota championship. Shattuck defeated the Minnesota Development Elite 7-2 in the semifinals.

The young Shattuck team features 13 players off last season’s 14U national champions. It is 31-11-7 this season.

Brannon McManus, a 15-year-old from Newport Beach, Calif., leads the team with 40 goals and 34 assists in 49 games. McManus was second on the 14U team in scoring at nationals last season behind Reedy.

New Look 14U Squad

The entire Shattuck-St. Mary’s 14U roster has turned over after the national title from a year ago. The championship was the first after four losses in the finals, one in double overtime.

This year’s squad is 51-9-1, including nine straight wins beginning with its own tournament in mid-February.

T.J. Walsh, a freshman from Shrewsbury, Mass., and Oliver Wahlstrom, an eighth-grader from Falmouth, Maine, lead the team with 121 and 100 points, respectively.

“We probably played our best hockey of the year when we had our home tournament,” first-year coach Adam Nightingale said. “We played Notre Dame, a school out western Canada with the same model as us."

“They were a good physical team, and that was probably the best we played. It was important for us to try to win our own tournament.”

The Sabres started the tournament with an 8-3 win over Notre Dame then captured the title with an 8-1 win in the rematch.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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