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Youth Tier I 14U/15 Notebook: Opening Day in Scottsdale

By Jayson Hron, 04/06/17, 3:00AM MDT

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Catch up on action from the opening day of the 2017 USA Hockey Youth Tier I 14U/15 Nationals

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Washington Little Caps 2, Colorado Evolution 5: Adversity struck the Washington Little Caps 15-year-olds in the form of several players’ equipment bags lost in transit to Arizona. Then the Colorado Evolution jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the teams’ opening-day matchup and the Little Caps’ bench was shortened by an injury to one its forwards. Undaunted, the Little Caps rallied to tie Colorado 2-2 on goals from Owen Morgan and Reid Leibold, but Arsenii Smekhnov completed a hat trick in the second period and the Evolution never looked back, topping Washington 5-2.

Neponset Valley River Rats 0, Buffalo Junior Sabres 4: The Buffalo Junior Sabres 15-year-olds cruised to a 4-0 opening-day win over Neponset Valley, outshooting the River Rats 49-12 and getting goals from Leo Bax, Garrett Kessler, Tyler Nasca and Casey Severo. Buffalo goaltender Connor Hasley registered the shutout.

Compuware 4, Pittsburgh Pens Elite 5: Four first-period goals staked the Pittsburgh Pens Elite 15s to a comfortable lead, but it might have been a bit too comfortable. Compuware found its collective legs in the second period, outshot Pittsburgh 13-3 and pulled to within 4-2 at the intermission. A shorthanded goal from Tanner Daniels restored a three-goal margin for Pittsburgh, but Jeremy Coppola and James Akouri scored twice in 21-second span of the third period to pull Compuware back within a goal and set up a frenzied final six minutes during which Pittsburgh held on desperately to secure a 5-4 victory despite being outshot 28-17 for the game.

Team Wisconsin 5, Team North Dakota 1: Five has been the magic number through the opening slate of games in Scottsdale. The winning team in three of the first four contests finished with five goals, and Team Wisconsin 15s made it four for five in a 5-1 triumph over Team North Dakota on Thursday. Samuel Stange, Jack Rhode, John Prokop, Spencer Kring and Drake Baldwin scored for Team Wisconsin, which outshot North Dakota 44-15.

Oakland Grizzlies 3, Alaska Oilers 2: Playing at USA Hockey Nationals for the second consecutive season after visiting Alaska last year with Belle Tire 14U, Oakland (Mich.) goaltender Joey Henson denied a desperate third-period blitz from the Alaska Oilers 15s and helped lead the Grizzlies to a 3-2 opening-day victory. Brett Bush paced the Oakland attack with a goal and an assist. Cameron McDonald and Jacob Easley scored for Alaska.

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