SAN JOSE, Calif. — En route to championships at the USA Hockey Youth Tier I Pacific District Tournament at the 16U and 18U levels this past weekend, the Anaheim Junior Ducks picked up two additional superlatives: biggest upset and most dramatic victory.
The Junior Ducks’ 16U squad pulled off a shocking 6-3 upset of the Alaska Oilers in Sunday’s final at Solar4America Ice. To punch its ticket to next month’s USA Hockey Youth Tier I National Championships in Philadelphia, Anaheim knocked off an Oilers squad that had outscored its opponents 29-4 in four previous tournament games and boasted the division’s top four scorers — three of whom finished the tournament with double-digit point totals.
“They’ve got some really good players with some bright hockey futures ahead of them,” said Alex Kim, Junior Ducks co-coach. “They were tough to play against.”
Powered by two goals apiece from Jackson Niedermayer and Benjamin Biester, the Ducks avenged their only defeat of the tournament, a 3-2 loss to Alaska in the Ducks’ opener on Thursday.
Niedermayer snapped a 1-1 tie in the second period to put Anaheim ahead to stay, then widened the Ducks’ lead to 3-1 with 10:05 remaining in the third period. Alaska’s Jaron Ketterman scored just over a minute later to cut Anaheim’s lead to 3-2, but Biester scored with 7:06 left, touching off a run of three unanswered goals that put the game out of the Oilers’ reach.
Joseph Harguindeguy and Timothy Marchant also scored for the Ducks, and goaltender Ethan Lahmon stopped 20 shots to earn the win.
“Every single line contributed,” Kim said. “All four lines saw a piece of the action.”
Niedermayer led the Ducks in scoring for the tournament with eight points, including five goals. Ryan Johnson had seven points, six of which came on assists.
Lahmon posted a 1.20 goals-against average for the tournament, stopping 102 shots over five games and recording a shutout against the Everett (Washington) Junior Silvertips on Friday.
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Youth Tier I
14U: Los Angeles Junior Kings
15-Only: Alaska Oilers
16U: Anaheim Junior Ducks
18U: Anaheim Junior Ducks
Youth Tier II
Girls Tier I
14U: Anaheim Lady Ducks
16U: Anaheim Lady Ducks
Girls Tier II
14U: Anaheim Lady Ducks
16U: Anaheim Lady Ducks
19U: San Jose Junior Sharks
Anaheim’s 18U team, meanwhile, captured the championship in its division with a 6-0 victory over the Los Angeles Junior Kings on Sunday. That win was rather anti-climactic, however, compared to the Ducks’ 8-7 shootout win over the Kings the night before.
Henri Schreifels had a hat trick in regulation Saturday, scoring all three goals in the third period, and he added another goal in the shootout that gave the Ducks a 2-0 advantage from which their Southern California rivals could not recover.
“He’s been scoring in overtime and game-winners all season,” said Ducks coach August Aiken. “It’s nothing new for him to do what he did.”
Goaltender David Reduzzi, meanwhile, was equally stellar in the shootout, stopping three of the Kings’ four shots — the other was sent wide — to hold Los Angeles scoreless.
“He was unbelievable,” Aiken said. “He made some big saves, obviously, and was really composed in the net.”
Schreifels’ first two goals in the third period snapped a four-all tie, giving Anaheim a two-goal advantage after it entered the period trailing 4-3. The Kings erased that deficit with goals from Logan Corrigan and Dawson Armstrong.
Schreifels’ third goal briefly gave Anaheim a 7-6 lead with 1:48 remaining, but the Kings’ Malcolm Bohan responded roughly 30 seconds later, tying the game with his third goal of the contest.
Los Angeles goalie Mattias Sholl stopped the Junior Ducks’ first two shots in the shootout before Leevi Selanne finally broke through. Schreifels’ shootout goal made it necessary for the Junior Kings to score twice to stay alive — something Reduzzi prevented by closing his knees to stop a shot sent toward his five-hole.
Aiken said the momentum generated from Saturday’s thriller carried over to the Ducks’ blowout win in Sunday’s championship game.
“It really built up our confidence leading into today for sure,” Aiken said.
Vail Ardizzone had two goals — one on a power play — and an assist for the Ducks in Sunday’s championship game. Logan Harris, Zachary Pires, Dylan Reightley, and Ryan Fischer also scored for Anaheim.
Schreifers led all scorers in the 18U division with nine points, including a division-high six goals. Ardizzone was second with six points (three goals, three assists).
Goaltender Brandon Bedient, who turned aside 16 shots to earn the shutout in the championship game, had a goals-against average of 0.50, allowing just one goal in two games.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc