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Notebook: St. Clair Shores Wins 16U Title in Last Year Together

By Lary Bump - Special to, 03/30/15, 9:30AM MDT


Mostly players from the Michigan team will move on to different levels or teams next season.

PLANO, Texas -- If the St. Clair Shores (Mich.) Saints can repeat their AAA title in the Toyota-USA Hockey Youth Tier II 16U National Championships next season, they’ll do it with a different look.

Most of the team will graduate to AAA Midget Major, junior or high school varsity hockey next season. Captain Joey Tabbi, for one, will be joining the Honeybaked Hockey Club.

Coach Matt Romaniski also will be gone after coaching the Saints to their first national championship and a second-place finish in his three years. He will be returning to Honeybaked, but at a much different level. He’ll be coaching the 10U team.

“I’ve coached quite a few hockey teams,” Romaniski said, “and this has been a great group of kids to coach. The assistant coaches, Bob Fluent and Bill Selengowski, have been great, and St. Clair Shores has supported this team.”

Leading Scorers

The overall scoring leader in the three 16U national tournaments was Jack Oberg of Team South Dakota. He finished with 18 points (11 goals, seven assists) in Class A. Right behind him was Ian Rentfrow of Northern Kentucky Norse in Class A with 6-11--17.

The AAA leader was the St. Clair Shores Saints’ Joey Tabbi at 9-3--12. In AA, the Tampa Scorpions’ Lucas Sowder led with 7-5--12, just ahead of teammate Parker York’s 5-6--11, both in six games. Austin Magera of Atlanta Phoenix had a AA tournament-leading eight goals in five games.

Goalie Leaders

The goalies in the AA championship game, Tampa’s Josh Cuni and the Affton (Mo.) Americans’ Drew Shapiro, each won four games in the tournament. Cuni won the one that mattered most.

In AAA, the Hyland Hills (Colo.) Jaguars’ Tyler Myers won four games. He made 23 saves in one of the tournament’s most exciting games, a 1-0 shutout Friday of Cheektowaga (N.Y.). Nick Hawkins scored the game-winning goal with just 14 seconds left in regulation play. The Jaguars had just 11 shots on goal.

Plenty of Action in the Semifinals

The Allen Americans came closest to representing Texas in the finals. They lost a AAA semifinal Sunday to Hyland Hills 3-1. In the other AAA semifinal, St. Clair Shores defeated Team Toledo 5-1.

In the AA semifinals, the Scorpions downed the Ashburn (Va.) Xtreme 8-2 and Affton had a tougher time, beating WEHL Southwest from Wisconsin 3-1.

South Dakota won over the Maine Moose 7-4, and the Montana Thunderblades defeated the Columbia (S.C.) Cyclones 3-2 in overtime in one of the tournament’s closest games.

Busy Box

There was chippy play in some AA games. In both Affton’s 2-0 victory over Tampa Elite and the Scorpions’ 4-2 win against the host Dallas Penguins, there were 70 penalty minutes.

State Bragging Rights

No team from South Dakota had won a national championship until Team South Dakota’s Tier II 16U team did so in 2012. Team South Dakota did it again in 2014 and this year. Team South Dakota is still the only team from the state to win a national title.

The Tampa Scorpions have two of Florida’s four national championships after defeating the Affton Americans in the AA final for the second time in four years.

In AAA, the St. Clair Shores Saints won their first national championship after coming close with a second-place finish in 2013. That title didn’t make a big splash in the Saints’ home state of Michigan, which has had 118 national championships entering this season.

Dallas Facilitates

The venues for the tournament, the Dr. Pepper Starcenter-Plano and Dr. Pepper Starcenter-Farmers Branch, are two of six hockey facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex operated with cooperation from the NHL’s Dallas Stars. In March, Dallas also hosted the Rocky Mountain District championships at the Starcenters at Valley Ranch, Farmers Branch and Frisco.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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