AMHERST, N.Y. -- It took four periods plus 2:53 before a Class 2A champion was decided in the Toyota-USA Hockey Youth Tier II 18U National Championships.
The Delaware Ducks defeated the New England Edge, 2-1, in a double overtime thriller.
"Amazing. Not the way I thought it was going to go," Delaware coach Michael Swift said. "In the end, they stuck to it. They kept just grinding it out, grinding it out. We just needed to get the goal, and finally it came."
Jeremy DeWit skated into the zone on the right side and shortly after crossing the blueline wound and fired a slapshot, barely finding the far side.
At first, DeWit didn't realize it went in, as his celebration was not immediate. When the rest of his team jumped in joy, he realized he was the hero.
"I didn't really see it," DeWit said. "I shot it through the D, but I heard it hit the crossbar and then I turned back and looked at my team and they're all skating at me. It was a great feeling."
"Great shot from Mr. DeWit," Swift said.
Delaware outshot New England, 50-29. Wayne Shambo made 28 saves for the win while Joseph Sheridan stopped 48 in the loss.
"Great, great game," New England coach Greg Frederick said. "Someone had to lose. A bounce of the puck. It happens. Just an awesome hockey game. Two teams battled till the end. No complaints."
The teams traded first period goals before going scoreless until overtime.
New England got on the board first at 5:42. Ryan Downie scored after cutting across the slot to take the shot.
James Schickling tied the game at 13:22 with a superb display of stick handling, dekes, and skating. He brought the puck into the zone, faking out every defender who tried to stop him, eventually going in alone against the goalie. His last move easily beat Sheridan to knot the game at one.
"Jimmy is always a guy that's dangerous down low," Swift said. "When he gets the puck, he can be pretty crafty, and he lifted the puck right into the top corner."
Twenty-nine seconds later, Delaware was awarded a penalty shot. Brendan Harmon skated straight down the middle as his shot was stopped by Sheridan.
The Ducks hit the post in the second period. They had a goal waved off in the third because the whistle blew when Sheridan apparently had it covered.
In the first overtime, each team had excellent chances to end the game. Early in the second overtime, Delaware hit another post.
"We shortened up the shifts," Swift said about surviving the marathon. "We just kept telling them, ‘This is it.’ A lot of these guys are playing their last youth hockey game."
Then finally, it was decided by Jeremy DeWit.
Frederick said, "I told the kids I coached a lot of good teams over the years, two teams that made nationals. This is by far my favorite group I've ever coached. I couldn't be more proud."
The title was a long time coming for the Ducks.
"This team was in nationals last year and lost in the semi. The year before that, this exact group lost in the finals," Swift said.
"It's awesome. I love it. Extremely hyped," DeWit said.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.