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Big Weekend for Omaha at Nationals

By Russell Jaslow - Special to, 03/30/15, 3:15PM MDT


Local youth team joins NCAA team in playoff hockey

AMHERST, N.Y. - Fans in Omaha, Neb., had two hockey teams to root for this weekend — the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the NCAA Regionals and the 16U Omaha AAA Hockey Club.

The college team won its regional and will be heading to the Frozen Four. The youth team also made it to the national semifinal, where it was stopped by Shattuck-St. Mary’s.

Omaha swept through pool play with three wins over the Syracuse Stars (7-2 where Ethen Frank scored twice), Team Comcast (7-1 where Austen Long got three goals and two assists), and Chicago Mission (4-3 where the team held off a two-goal, third-period Chicago rally).

Next, Omaha shut out last year’s champion, Team Wisconsin, 3-0 with a goal in each period, the last two by Long. Maximillian Haselbacher stopped all 27 shots.

However, Omaha’s run ended against powerhouse Shattuck, 4-1. Long scored the lone goal late in the second when it was 3-0.

HoneyBaked 16U Survives Opening Loss to Reach Finals

The HoneyBaked Youth Tier I 16U team also made it to the final game in the Toyota-USA Hockey National Championships. However, unlike the program’s 14U team, the 16U team had to survive an opening loss.

The Pittsburgh Penguins Elite handed HoneyBaked a 3-1 defeat on the first day. Pittsburgh led 3-0 on a pair of goals by Brendan Walkom sandwiched around an Eric Cooley tally.

HoneyBaked’s Mitchell Chaffee scored on the power play in the third to break the shutout, but it was too little, too late.

HoneyBaked bounced back with a 4-3 win over Anaheim Jr. Ducks in a back and forth game. HoneyBaked took the initial 1-0 lead, Anaheim scored twice for the 2-1 lead, and then HoneyBaked got three in a row before Anaheim got one back.

Then, the games got easier. HoneyBaked beat Michigan Nationals 7-1 in a game in which Chaffee scored twice.

This put HoneyBaked in the quarterfinals, where it blew out Central Connecticut Selects 9-2. Sasha Chmelevski got a hat trick (even strength, power play, and shorthanded) and Vanya Lodnia scored twice.

Next up, the semifinals and back to another tight game against Colorado Thunderbirds. Max Gerlach put Colorado up early in the second. HoneyBaked needed a Chaffee goal in the waning minutes of regulation to force overtime, which turned into a second overtime, which turned into a third overtime.

Late in the third overtime, Colin Adams finally ended it, sending HoneyBaked into the finals. Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Minn.) finally ended HoneyBaked’s run there.

Overtime Heartbreak
Last year, the Colorado Thunderbirds lost the national championship game to Team Wisconsin in four overtimes.

“Getting to the finals last year and losing, so the guys are really motivated from the beginning,” Colorado coach Angelo Ricci said. “We set four goals, and we’ve been going through them all season — win the Tier I elite league, because we won it last year, so we won it again this year; win the state championship, we did that for the 10th year in a row; win the district championship, we did; and so now we’re at goal four. We’re three for three so far, so hopefully now we can finish it off.”

Unfortunately, multiple overtimes knocked them out again. Colorado lost in the semifinals to HoneyBaked in three extra periods.

Stat Leaders
Shattuck’s Brannon McManus led the tournament with six goals and 11 points. The top assist getter was Omaha’s Casey Gilling with seven. Shattuck’s David Tomeo had the most shutouts with two.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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