South Shore Kings Youth Tier II 18U coach Kris Metea has guided a balanced squad all season.
It’s not just his top line that’s produced — his second, third and fourth lines have all chipped in. That balance will be key when his team heads to the 2017 USA Hockey Youth Tier II National Championships in Lansing, Michigan, April 6-10.
The Kings, a split-season team, won the Massachusetts District Youth Tier II 18U Tournament at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Massachusetts, on Nov. 13 to qualify for USA Hockey Nationals.
Metea figures about five or six of his players have competed at Nationals while with the Neponset Valley River Rats at a younger level.
“It’s pretty exciting for the kids,” Metea said. “A lot of the team is seniors, with the exception of maybe five or six of them. Most of them are going to call it a career after this, so it’s a nice little capping point to go to Nationals.”
South Shore (17-8-2) averaged five goals per game during the state tournament as its potent offense was clicking.
“It became deadly, and that’s what people realized,” Metea said. “It wasn’t our first line scoring all the goals and everyone else playing defense. They had to stop the other lines, too.”
Danny Shea and Tommy Giandomenico are the team’s leading scorers, along with linemate Noah Traylor. Coach Metea has given his guys the ability to “free wheel” offensively this season and they have come through.
“They’ve been my go-tos the last three years I’ve been coaching them,” Metea said.
Metea’s next three lines are just as valuable as his No. 1 unit.
“Depending on the game, they’ve all stepped up,” Metea said. “There’s no real bonafide second line. There’s been games where Stevie Gerbis will step up and score big goals like he did at states. Other days, Shane Hanley, Zack Albert, Ryan Keator kind of get the offense going. Then you get goals from the other lines.”
The Kings compete with only four defensemen, all of whom have been solid on the ice.
“All four have done well,” Metea said. “They bring a different element to the table. Henry Bruckner and Jack Tufts really bring an offensive punch from the blue line.”
South Shore also has just one goalie, Cam Dutra. He was an all-state netminder for Xaverian Brothers High School this year and was selected to the Shiner’s All-Star Game for the top players in Massachusetts.
“When our offense isn’t clicking, he keeps us in games,” Metea said. “He’s made some big saves to keep us where we’re at. He’s been to Nationals before [at Tier I], so we’re going to rely on his experience at Nationals again.”
Metea’s balanced team is very fast, but also can play physical. The coach calls it a hybrid between northeast hockey with a lot of skill and western hockey with the physical, grind-it-out nature.
At the state tournament, all three phases of the Kings were playing in sync.
South Shore downed the North Suburban Wings 7-2 to open the tournament. In the second game, the Kings fell 2-0 to the Eastern Massachusetts Senators before rebounding for a 4-3 victory over the Canton Bulldogs.
The Kings dispatched last year’s state champions, the Weymouth Wildcats, in the semifinals, 4-1. In dominating fashion, South Shore beat the Neponset Valley River Rats 8-2 to win the title.
“I was coaching the 16s, too, so I wasn’t even on the bench for the final,” Metea said.
The Kings haven’t had a chance to play together since the championship game, as the players went off to their respective high school teams for the winter season. Metea doesn’t think the players being apart for four months will disrupt team chemistry.
“Most of the team is good friends, so I try to group my teams on how well they know one another,” Metea said. “There’s about six of them that played Xaverian, so they’re really friendly. That group is real friendly with the Dexter kids and then those kids are real friends with the kids that were on the team that last two or three years. When they come back, it will be like they weren’t even gone.”
Heading into Nationals, Metea isn’t putting any pressure on his guys to succeed. He knows they will work hard and play their best.
“As I tell everybody, I don’t really have expectations for anything,” Metea said. “The higher expectations you hold, the greater room for disappointment you leave yourself. But we’re definitely not there just to be there; we’re there to compete and work hard, and I have a group of competitors that don’t like to lose.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
|Youth Tier I (14U)||Scottsdale, Arizona||Arizona Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier I (15-year-olds only)||Scottsdale, Arizona||Arizona Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier I (16U, 18U)||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||Pittsburgh Penguins Elite||April 6-10, 2017|
|Girls Tier I||Rochester/Macomb, Michigan||HoneyBaked Hockey Club||April 6-10, 2017|
|Women's A, B, C||Rochester/Macomb, Michigan||HoneyBaked Hockey Club||April 6-9, 2017|
|High School||Cleveland, Ohio||Cleveland Suburban Hockey||March 22-26, 2017|
|Girls Tier II||Troy, Michigan||Troy Youth Hockey Association||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (14U)||Coral Springs, Florida||Florida Panthers Ice Den||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (16U)||Frisco, Texas||Texas Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (18U)||Lansing, Michigan||Lansing Hockey Club||April 6-10, 2017|
|Sled||San Jose, California||Sharks Ice||April 6-9, 2017|
|Adult Rec Men's||Wesley Chapel, Florida||Florida Hospital Center Ice||April 20-23, 2017|
|Adult Rec Women's||Ellenton, Florida||Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex||April 27-30, 2017|