FRISCO, Texas -- No one could contain the Portland Jr. Winterhawks offense at the USA Hockey Youth Tier II 16U National Championships this weekend in North Texas.
The Jr. Winterhawks rolled to the 1A Division championship, scoring at least five goals in each game as they outscored opponents 33-10 in just five games.
On Monday morning, Portland closed out its championship performance with a 6-3 win against the Delaware Ducks.
“There was a sense of confidence throughout the weekend, and they were ready for this tournament,” coach Paul Doherty said. “It’s a really nice way to end the season. It’s a great cherry on top for the amount of hard work these guys have put in and it’s great for them to leave their mark on this program.”
They certainly left their mark on the scoresheets.
Portland was deadly on the power play and converted on half of its power plays in the tournament. Walker Reiersgaard led the team with 10 goals and 14 points, including a four-goal performance in the championship game.
And the championship game was a meeting between the two most dominant teams in the tournament. The Ducks outscored teams 30-3 in pool play before a 4-1 win against Team South Dakota in the semifinal.
“Hats off to them, we knew they’d be a tough team in the championship,” Doherty said. “We’d kind of watched the other group and we knew that if they kept playing like they did, we’d have to play them if we wanted to win this tournament.”
Delaware struck first in the championship game when Christopher Rutkoski scored 3:16 into the first period. Portland tied the game on a goal by Reiersgaard at 6:04 of the period, but Delaware regained a 2-1 lead 33 seconds later on a goal by Zach Martin.
Then Portland’s power play took over and swung the game in their direction.
Owen Ward tied the game at 2-2 late in the first period with the man advantage, giving Portland momentum heading into the first intermission.
The Jr. Winterhawks then scored two goals in the middle stanza Reiersgaard scored twice to give his team a 4-2 lead.
Delaware cut the lead to 4-3 on Martin’s second goal late in the second period, but Portland locked down defensively in the third. Gabriel Munzel found the back of the net and Reiersgaard added an empty net tally for good measure.
“I’m really proud of what they were able to do in the game,” Doherty said. “We’d played some one-goal games, tough games leading up to the tournament. So they were ready for a game where we had to battle back and they never stopped. They really deserved and worked hard for everything they earned this weekend.”
Benjamin Wolbach made 29 saves in the championship game for Portland and Graham Burke stopped 30 shots for Delaware.
Wolbach wasn’t overly busy with the Portland offense in front of him, but he made timely saves when called upon in the championship game as the Jr. Winterhawks lifted the hardware.
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|