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NE District: Bulldogs Leaders Come Up Big in District Tournament

By Tom Robinson, 04/04/17, 10:45PM MDT


Yale sends Youth Tier I 14U squad to Nationals with tough overtime victory

Two players who have already made commitments to NCAA Division I men’s hockey programs led the Yale Bulldogs to a New England District championship and a berth in the first USA Hockey Youth Tier I 15-year-old National Championships.

The two younger age groups (14U and 15s) will conduct their national tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona, April 6-10.    

Nick Capone, a University of Maine commit, scored the game-winning, overtime goal in the New England District final in November when the split-season team last played together. Capone’s goal on a deflection gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 win over Selects Academy SKS, a highly regarded team that will also be at Nationals after receiving an at-large berth.    

“It was a hard-fought, gritty game,” Yale coach Steve Novodor said of the team’s second win of the tournament over their opponent from Central Connecticut. “We killed a lot of penalties and we did a lot of things well.

“We got pucks in. We were hard on our forecheck. We got the puck down low pretty well.      

“That team is pretty lethal. We did a good job of containing them that day.”

Yale’s defense, led by Cornell University recruit Jimmy Rayhill, also held up well against the difficult test.

Novodor coached both the 15 and 18U Bulldogs, along with John Bellonio.

While Novodor takes the 15s to Scottsdale, Bellonio will head to Pittsburgh with the 18Us for their national tournament at the same time.

The 18U squad, featuring about a third of the roster from last year’s 16U national quarterfinalists, made Nationals on an at-large bid after losing to the Mid-Fairfield Chiefs, 4-2, in another November New England District championship game.

Yale had beaten Mid-Fairfield four straight times, including earlier in the district tournament, prior to the championship game loss.

Like much of the New England District, the Bulldogs split up in the fall to go play for their prep or high school teams. Those that make Nationals get back together after those seasons end.

The Bulldogs 18U team is led by five all-prep selections who have all committed to play at NCAA Division I schools.

Forward Tyler Madden, a Northeastern recruit and a standout at Avon Old Farms Prep, leads the way.

Madden is joined up front by Tyce Thompson and Joey Cipollone, who each plan to play in the United States Hockey League before heading to college. Thompson is committed to the Dubuque Fighting Saints and Providence University. Cipollone plans to play with the Tri-City Storm and University of Vermont.

Andrew Lucas, who is committed to Vermont, and Nicholas Hale, who is committed to Holy Cross, lead the defense.

Thompson, Cipollone, Lucas and Hale were among the players who helped the Bulldogs 16U program make an impressive national showing in its first year.

District Champions

Youth Tier I

14U: Mid-Fairfield Rangers

15: Yale Bulldogs

16U: Selects Academy at SKS

18U: Yale Bulldogs

Youth Tier II

14U: Ridgefield Lions, Maine Moose, New Hampshire Avalanche

16U: Southern Connecticut Stars, Maine Moose, Manchester Flames

18U: Hamden Dragons, Maine Moose, New Hampshire Avalanche


Avalanche and Moose Double Dip

The Yale Bulldogs are not the only New England District program to be sending more than one team to Nationals.

The Selects Academy at SKS (South Kent School in Connecticut) won the 16U title to join its 15s team in Youth Tier I.

The Maine Moose have three teams and the New Hampshire Avalanche have two in Youth Tier II. Both teams made it in 14U and 18U while the Moose also made it in 16U.       

The New Hampshire Avalanche Blue Team made it by winning their state title — Tier II teams reach Nationals by winning their states without having to play a district championship — in 18U by dominating the competition by a total of 33-2 through four games.

Other Qualifiers

The Mid-Fairfield Rangers won the Youth Tier I title in 14U.

The Hamden Dragons (18U), Southern Connecticut Stars (16U) and Ridgefield Lions (14U) are Connecticut’s Youth Tier II champs.

Southern Connecticut teams went 1-1 in overtime games in Connecticut state finals.

Hamden let a three-goal lead get away, then put together its own rally and wound up beating Southern Connecticut 5-4 on a goal early in overtime.

Alex Mozian scored in the third overtime and Ryan Wilson got the win in goal when the Southern Connecticut Stars beat the Wonderland Wizards 2-1.

The Manchester Flames, in 16U, are the other New Hampshire Tier II champs.

The Rhode Island Hitmen and Woodstock (Vermont) Junior Wasps are the other state representatives in 14U.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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2017 USA Hockey National Championship Sites

Division Location Host Dates
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