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.
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.
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.
|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|