AMHERST, N.Y. -- It's every team’s goal to play the perfect game in the championship final. When that rare perfection is found, it can be overwhelming, even for the winning team.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s played the “perfect” game for the Toyota-USA Hockey Youth Tier I 16U National Championship, beating Honeybaked 7-0 in a dominating shutout.
“I’m even in shock right now on how well our guys played,” Shattuck coach Ben Umhoefer admitted. “They’re such a good team with so many dangerous players. We knew we had to be at our best to beat those guys. I don’t know if there’s a perfect game out there, but that was close. We really, really played well, firing on all cylinders. Best game of the season. Everybody contributed. You couldn’t play any better against an incredible team.”
Robert Blueger and Austin Pratt scored off rebounds to give Shattuck a 2-0 first-period lead.
“We got some fortunate bounces early on, which kind of got the momentum going,” Umhoefer said. “There was no turning back.”
No turning back is right, as the Faribault, Minn., prep school came out in the second period even stronger.
Fifty-five seconds in, Logan Hutsko picked up a loose puck at the circle, skated to the right slot area and blew a wrister past the goalie.
Five minutes later the prettiest goal of the game occurred while shorthanded. Brannon McManus outraced the defenders as the puck went toward the goalie.
The goaltender hesitated, allowing McManus to get to it first. McManus allowed the goalie to dive for the puck while pulling it away from him. As the goalie went down flat on his stomach, McManus skated the puck around and deposited it in to the open net.
A minute later, it was 5-0 when Michael Schumacher skated straight down the ice. When he got to the slot, he wound and fired.
Blueger got his second goal of the game to end the second at 6-0. Bennett Norlin added a late third-period goal for good measure to finish off the scoring.
David Tomeo stopped all 16 shots for the shutout. Shattuck poured 31 shots on HoneyBaked’s net.
Overall, Shattuck outscored its opponents 40-4 in Amherst.
Playing a perfect game requires the energy to do so. In a short tournament where going the distance means playing six games in five days, that’s a tall order.
“All week we’ve been talking about our energy on the bench and keeping a noisy bench and building momentum in our team through the energy,” Umhoefer said. “We tell the guys, ‘When the individual gets tired, the energy has to come from the team.’ There’s no question guys are tired now, so we tried to get the energy through our team. The kids bought into it and did just a tremendous job. I couldn’t be more proud. It’s just a great effort by 20 kids.”
Despite all the success Shattuck-St. Mary’s hockey teams have had, they had never won a national title at the 16U youth level. Thanks to perfection, they did just that.
“It was just an incredible game,” Umhoefer said.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.