Team Wisconsin's Cole Danielson beats CCYHA goalie Trevor Giwerowski to add to his team's lead. (Photo by Carmo Photography)
WEST CHESTER – Following a scoreless first period, Team Wisconsin showed why they entered the USA Hockey Tier I 16U Youth National Championships as the third overall seed.
A shorthanded goal from Drake Baldwin got the ball rolling in the second period, and Wisconsin added three more that period en rout to a 6-1 victory over CCYHA that secured them a spot in Monday’s semifinals.
After killing off not one, but two five-on-three penalty kills less than 10 minutes into the second, Baldwin and Jake Schmaltz broke out on a shorthanded 2-on-1, with Baldwin finding the back of the net on a one-timer from his teammate.
From there, the goals started to flow, as Cole Danielson and Cade Lemmer (2) each scored to give Wisconsin a four-goal cushion heading into the second intermission. Baldwin added a second in the final period, and Jack Rhode got in on the action with a man advantage goal of his own.
Wisconsin assistant coach Craig Johnson preached the ‘tripod’ the team has in their system of work, structure and skills.
In the decisive second stanza, that tripod was on full display.
“I thought we went to the hard areas a little bit more, it was a small rink so we told the kids we have to win puck battles, we have to support that first puck and we have to get pucks more to the net,” Johnson said.
“We pride ourselves on working hard, the boys’ pressure today was awesome,” he added. “The transition from offense to defense, defense to offense, they were clicking. They were hungry for it, I’m super pumped.”
In their latest win, Wisconsin’s special teams rose to the occasion, recording three goals on the power play to go along with Baldwin’s shorthanded tally.
“We got a new power play I think a week ago and it’s just been rolling since then,” Baldwin said. “If you can score a power play goal or you can prevent the other team from scoring power play goals, you’ll win almost every game.”
Added Johnson: “I liked the response from our kill and obviously getting a shorthanded goal is icing on the cake. Today we won the special teams battle and can go any way at this level.
As a date with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks in the semis awaits, Johnson said he would continue to preach the same message.
“We got to have a little fun on Friday and enjoy Philadelphia, but it’s always been a business trip,” he said. “When you get to the final four, if you can’t get up, you’re playing the wrong sport.”
Chicago Mission 2, Boston Jr. Eagles 1
A pair of second period goals from Jacob Perrault and Jack Horbach booked a spot in Monday's semifinals for the Chicago Mission in a 2-1 victory over Boston. Jackson Bernard made 26 saves in between the pipes for the Mission, with his lone blemish coming in the first period on a goal from Jr. Eagles' John Farinacci.
Oakland Jr, Grizzlies 6, Honeybaked 1
A hat trick from Oakland's Nick Nardecchia led the Jr. Grizzlies to a convincing victory over Honeybaked on Sunday. Two of Nardecchia's goals came in the third period, while Nicholas O'Hanisain and Jaden Grant joined him in the goal scoring festivities in the third. Mitchell SMith got the scoring underway in the first period, but his goal was cancelled by Honeybaked's Carson Riddle.
Anaheim Jr. Ducks 5, Little Caesars 2
Jackson Niedermayer recorded two goals and an assist, and a three-goal first period was all the Jr. Ducks needed to advance to the semifinals. Ethan Wolthers and Joseph Harguindeguy found the back of the net in the first period, with Joshua Groll putting the exclamation point on this one with a goal in the final period. Little Caesars received goals from Jonathan Ziskie and Laker Aldridge in defeat.