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Tier II 16U Teams Showed Resiliency After Opening Losses

By Tom Robinson - Special to, 04/07/16, 10:00AM MDT


Half of the finalists started tournament with defeats

WAYNE, N.J. -- One day into the Toyota-USA Hockey Youth Tier II 16U National Championships, not much could be determined from the results. As many opening-day losers as winners wound up making their way to the championship games on Monday.

Both Team Wyoming and the Oklahoma City Oil Kings lost their openers only to meet in the Class 1A final, with Wyoming winning 4-2.

The Armstrong (Pa.) Arrows also made the Class 2A final following an opening loss, but they fell 7-4 to the Maine Moose in the championship game.

The two Class 3A finalists, the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies and Chesterfield (Mo.) Falcons, both won their openers. Oakland prevailed 2-1 in the title game.

Opening Losers Get Semifinal Revenge

Team Wyoming and Oklahoma City each avenged their opening losses during Sunday’s semifinals.

After Wyoming lost to the Manchester (N.H.) Flames 6-5 in an opening-day shootout, it dominated the rematch to win 5-0.

Hunter Peterson had a hat trick and Team Wyoming had a 40-24 shot advantage in the first meeting, but it allowed the game-tying goal in the final minute then lost the shootout.

“We played solid in the first game against them,” Team Wyoming coach Matthew Sauter said. “We felt we outplayed them.”

Peterson was back for more in the semifinals. He scored a goal 15 seconds into the game and added another in the second period before assisting on the team’s third goal in the second.

“We had the confidence going into the rematch,” Sauter said. “We started off with the goal 15 seconds in and never looked back.”

Ryan Welch had both second-period goals to build a 4-0 lead.  

Oklahoma City lost to the Charleston Jr. Stingrays 2-1 in the opener before winning its next two pool games. The Oil Kings then pulled out a 3-1 win in the semifinal rematch against Charleston when Tristan Glass had a goal and two assists.

Getting Defensive

The Maine Moose took a six-goal lead in the Class 2A title game to all but secure an undefeated record and a national title, so giving up three goals in the final 7:09 hardly made a dent. Even with the outburst, Maine gave up just 10 goals in six tournament games.

Nicholas Bisson, Cole Ouellette, Matthew Jolicoeur, Samuel Story, Gavin Bates and Jayden Wilson formed the defense for the Moose, who won the final 7-4 over the Armstrong Arrows.

In Saturday’s pool play finale, the defensive unit allowed just 12 shots during a 7-0 shutout of the Nashville Junior Predators.

Ouellette also contributed four points to the offense.

Final Goal

The final game on the final day of the event went overtime.

Michael Ellis picked a perfect time to score his first overtime game-winner ever. His score lifted Oakland Jr. Grizzlies to the Class 3A national title over the Chesterfield Falcons.

“It’s quite an experience,” Ellis said. “I’ll remember that the rest of my life.”

Stats Leaders

Hunter Peterson had a long regular season with Gillette, winning just twice in the Wyoming Amateur Hockey Association.

When the top players in that league came together to form Team Wyoming, Peterson had a much different experience, winning four times at nationals, leading Team Wyoming to the Class 1A title and leading all tournament players in goals (12) and points (13).

“My teammates helped a lot,” Peterson said.

One of those teammates, James Doyle, led the division in assists with eight. Wyoming goalie Nils Hout, led with two shutouts.

Warren Natyshak from the Sylvania (Ohio) North Stars led 2A with seven goals. Three players — Cody Doyon from Maine, Joshua Linn from the Alaska Oilers and Timothy Organ from Sylvania — shared the assist lead with six. Ty Black from the Texas Junior Brahmas had the most points with 11.

Al Guzzardo from the champion Oakland Jr. Grizzlies led all 3A players with six goals. Eric Vanderhoff from the Skyland Kings led in assists with five. Alec Grace from the Orange County Hockey Club had the most points with eight.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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