The Sioux Falls Junior Stampede is making a quick impact as a Youth Tier I hockey program.
Sioux Falls has qualified for the USA Hockey Youth Tier I National Championships at the 18U level in each of its first two seasons. The 18U team will be joined this season by the 16U squad at Nationals in Pittsburgh, April 6-10.
The Stampede prevented Team North Dakota from representing the Northern Plains District in all four age groups at Youth Tier I Nationals by winning the district championship series in March.
Team North Dakota will head to the Youth Tier I 14U and 15-year-old Nationals, which are being played in Scottsdale, Arizona, over the same dates.
The Stampede began as a Tier I program on the 14U level in the summer of 2014, one year before adding the 16U and 18U teams.
Sioux Falls earned a return to Nationals in 18U with a two-game sweep and the first 16U berth with a three-game series win.
“This is a terrific accomplishment for a program that prides itself on doing things the right way,” said Matt Tobin, Stampede general manager, according to a story on the program’s website.
The Stampede tuned up after the March 10-12 district titles by traveling to Faribault, Minnesota, to take on Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, the defending national champion in 16U and a nine-time 18U champion. Sioux Falls, which picked up some wins vs. Shattuck-St. Mary’s teams earlier this season, lost two-game series on each level in the road games.
The 18U team is 37-13-3, including a 16-3-1 stretch that culminated in the 9-5, 6-1 sweep of the Team North Dakota in the championship series.
The team is led by three players who have signed tenders to play in the North American Hockey League next season.
Nathan Miller has signed with the Aberdeen Wings, Josh Fricks with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights and Dylan Giorgio with the Bismarck Bobcats.
Miller, the team captain who averages more than a point per game, became the first hometown Sioux Falls player to use the Junior Stampede as a steppingstone to the NAHL.
Fricks, the Stampede scoring leader, is described as a “threat on every shift” by head coach Dan Houck.
Giorgio, from Maryland, joined Miller in scoring the team’s only goals at Nationals last year.
“I have known Dylan since he was an 8U player in Washington, D.C.,” Houck said in a team website story announcing the tender with Bismarck. “I had the opportunity to coach him at 12U and be reunited with him this year.
“His opportunity to play in the NAHL next year is very special to both of us.”
The 16U team, which is 25-18-1, had a tougher time getting past Team North Dakota and into Nationals.
After splitting one-goal games — Sioux Falls won 2-1, then lost 4-3 — the Stampede won the decisive game, 6-1.
Neither Nationals-bound Team North Dakota Tier I squad has played since November, prior to the start of the high school season.
The 16U team went 5-1-1 in November to wrap up its schedule with a 13-8-3 record.
Kirklan Ivey is the team’s leading scorer with 11 goals and 10 assists. He is followed by Tyler Zahradka (7-11-18) and Caleb Petrie (10-7-17).
After a tough start, the 14U team went 3-3-1 in its last seven games.
Brayden Jacobsen leads the team with 12 goals.
The Northern Plains District also has eight teams headed to the USA Hockey Youth Tier II National Championships scheduled for April 6-10.
All four of the district's states will be represented at Youth Tier II 14U Nationals in Coral Springs, Florida, where the Montana Thunderblades, Team North Dakota, Team South Dakota and Team Wyoming will play.
Team Wyoming, which won Tier II national titles in 14U 1A and 16U 1A last year, will have teams at 14U and 18U this year. The 18U tournament is in Lansing, Michigan.
Team South Dakota and the Montana Thunderblades will play in the 16U event in Frisco, Texas.
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|