DraftDay-Black completes defense of title as World Selects champions, goes back-to-back in 2019 and 2021

NASHVILLE — DraftDay-Black won the 2019 World Selects championship at the 15U age level, and after the tournament’s one-year hiatus in 2020, the program returned to defend its title as the best at the age group. 

The 2021 World Selects Trophy concluded on Friday with the ‘06 Elite championship game at the Ford Ice Center in Bellevue. It was the 64th game in five days, and the matchup in the finale pitted the No. 1 Everest Academy against No. 2 team DraftDay-Black. 

Top-seeded Everest Academy was a perfect 8-0 heading into the final. Forward Tyron Fevry led the team in scoring and was one of the top scorers in the entire tournament with nine goals and 15 points through eight games. Teammate Jack Dean came on in the elimination rounds as well, as he produced six of his 10 points in the first three rounds of playoffs. Goaltender Easton Rye played 143:33 of action in the tournament before finally surrendering a goal in the second half of the semifinal game against the Detroit Jr. Red Wings. Rye, like most of Canada, had not played game action in almost a full calendar year, yet shined in his return to the ice with three shutouts and a .966 save percentage.

No. 2-seeded DraftDay-Black featured a star-studded lineup of top 2006-born prospects including a trio of Minnesota natives Max Plante, Ben Miller and Henry Lechner. Plante’s playmaking ability and distribution of the puck allowed him to lead the tournament in assists (nine) and fueled DraftDay’s top line to a combined total of 18 goals.

The squad dropped just one game the entire tournament; a 2-1 shootout decision at the hands of Exposure Hockey. Vlad Bryzgalov maintained a 0.50 goals-against average and .966 save percentage, second only to opposing championship net minder Rye at the other end of the ice. Bryzgalov split starts with Jackson Silverberg, who also posted an impressive 0.80 goals-against average and .957 save percentage in the tournament. 

Just 1:39 into the game, DraftDay’s Cal Hughes opened the scoring with a wrist shot past Andrew Gaulton. Everest — as it had done much of the tournament — was quick to respond just over a minute later when defenseman Ty Henry fired a wrist shot past Silverberg. 

The first half of the contest featured chances from both teams in what proved to be a physical matchup. It seemed like every pass or shot attempt was quickly followed by an opposing player finishing their check on an opponent. 

With just under eight minutes left in the first half, defenseman Adam Kleber made an impressive forehand-backhand move to get around a defender, and snapped off a shot to make it 2-1 for DraftDay. The opening 20 minutes concluded with great pace, as both teams traded scoring chances.

However, a three-minute stretch to begin the second half would blow the game wide open, leaving DraftDay with a stranglehold on the game and Everest reeling.

Goals by Logan Hensler, Henry Brzustewicz, Cal Hughes and Max Plante came in rapid succession; the first of the sequence coming less than three minutes apart from the last tally. Just 2:52 of game action and the score swelled from a one-goal battle to a five-goal deficit.

Chase Nyitray delivered the final blow with just under five minutes to play, before the clock counted down the final seconds and DraftDay-Black completed its 15U title defense.

The victory signified the conclusion of the tournament which featured players from three different countries, including Barys from Eastern Europe. A week filled with competition throughout the 20-team field. There were 29 games decided by two goals or less, including 13 by way of overtime or shootout.

The 2021 World Selects Trophy proved to be one of the biggest showcases of talent at the 15U age level. WHH will have tons of continued coverage and more content from the event coming your way including photos, highlights, player interviews and more. Be sure to connect with us on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook for the latest content!