Monday’s 1A championship game at the Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Tier II 14U Nationals will match the Idaho Jr. Steelheads against the Atlanta Fire Elite.
Idaho has scored at least nine goals in each of its four games so far, with a 10-0 semifinal win over the Park City Miners as its most recent. Calvin Osterberger led the way for the Jr. Steelheads with 10 goals and six assists through four games. Jackson Howell tallied five goals and four assists through those four games.
The offense isn’t the only story for Idaho though, as goaltender Daniel May has played every game and allowed just two goals so far. He has two shutouts and two games in which he allowed just one goal on more than 30 shots.
Atlanta scored five goals in each of its pool play games and seven in its 7-3 semifinal win over the Oklahoma City Oil Kings. George Goodwin leads the way for Atlanta with seven goals and three assists in four games. Adam Costley was in net for three of Atlanta’s four games so far, and only in the semifinal game did he allow more than one goal.
Idaho and Atlanta are scheduled to face off at 9 a.m. Monday morning to determine the 1A champion.
2A championship matchup
Monday’s 2A championship game will be an east coast battle as the Gulf Coast Flames face the Maine Moose.
Gulf Coast finished pool play with a record of 2-1; their only loss came to the Maine Moose, a 4-1 final. The Flames rebounded from that loss with a 7-0 win in their final pool play game and an 8-1 win in quarterfinals. They shut out the Gladiators, 3-0, in the semifinals to advance to Monday’s championship.
The Flames have seen scoring from much of their roster; Max Resnick leads the way with six goals and an assist in the tournament so far, but he did not have a point in the Flames’ loss to Maine.
Maine hasn’t lost a game yet in the national tournament, but it took overtime to advance to the semifinals. The Moose trailed the Florida Jr. Everblades until they tied the game at one late in the second period, and Trevor Ouellette won it with just eight seconds left in overtime. He leads the Moose’s offense with five goals and three assists, including the first goal in the win against Gulf Coast.
The earlier matchup between Gulf Coast and Maine saw a total of 54 penalty minutes between the two teams. Discipline will help both teams in Monday’s final, which is scheduled for 10 a.m.
3A championship matchup
The 3A championship game features the an almost-hometown team in Skaneateles, who will face the South Hills Panthers from just outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Skaneateles has been a bit of a surprise in this year’s national tournament. The Lakers were not expected to be a title contender, but it would seem that no one told them that.
They went undefeated in pool play, including a 1-0 win against the Dallas Penguins and a 3-2 shootout win against the Ashburn Xtreme. Goaltender Adam Casper, who has relatives in Buffalo, recorded a 19-save shutout in the win against Dallas, and Lucas Prince stopped 27 of 29 shots in the shootout win.
After defeating South Shore 5-1 in quarterfinals, Skaneateles faced one of the top teams in the country in the California Golden Bears. And the Lakers beat them too, 7-2.
But the score doesn’t tell the whole story. Casper was in net, as coach Mitch Major has alternated goalies through the tournament, and stopped 36 of 38 shots. The Lakers were outshot 38-24, but it didn’t matter.
Charlie Russell has led the Lakers’ offense with eight goals and five assists so far, while Major’s son, Charlie, has five goals and six assists.
South Hills was also undefeated in pool play, with their biggest win coming against the Chelsea Chiefs Gold, an 8-1 victory.
Anthony Carone has led the offense for the Panthers with seven goals and six assists. The Panthers also scored an upset win in their semifinal victory as they won, 6-4, against Palmyra.
And so, instead of the California-Palmyra matchup some might have expected, it will be Skaneateles and South Hills facing off for the championship at 11 a.m. Monday morning.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.