Southeastern, Mid-Am Districts crown champs; Mass 14U too. Next stop Nattys
Another set of teams can start planning their respective trips to the USA Hockey National Championships.
This past weekend, the Southeastern District and the Mid-American District held championships for their regions, with bragging rights and automatic bids to the national tournament on the line for all. Massachusetts wrapped up its Tier-1 tournaments for the national-bound age groups, as well.
The Southeastern District is the home to the Potomac Valley Amateur Hockey Association (Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia), the Carolina Amateur Hockey Association (North and South Carolina), the Southern Amateur Hockey Association (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee) and the Statewide Amateur Hockey of Florida. The Mid-American District represents Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania.
The following teams had already secured spots at the upcoming 2022 USA Hockey National Championships:
California Golden Bears
Los Angeles Jr. Kings
Boston Jr. Eagles
Anaheim Jr. Ducks
Let’s take a look at the teams that are now joining that list:
At the 14U level, the Nashville Jr. Predators topped Team Maryland in the final with a 2-1 nail-biter to secure their spot in Chicago. It was a tough one for Team Maryland, who had beaten the Nashville boys the day before in the semifinals, but the Jr. Preds won the game that mattered most on Sunday morning.
The Jr. Predators secured a 15-only Southeastern District title, as well, as they prevailed over the Florida Alliance in the finals by a score of 5-2. The victory capped off a perfect weekend for the ’06 Preds, as they out-scored the competition 23-4 during their four games.
Florida Alliance broke up the Jr. Predators program winning streak, as they captured the 16U title and a spot in the big dance. The Alliance played to a 4-0 weekend, with a 5-1 win over Team Maryland in the title game.
The Jr. Predators were back on top in the 18U division, as they bested the Little Caps 2-1 in their championship game to begin planning for a trip to Metro Detroit for nationals.
The 2007 birth-year Pittsburgh Penguins Elite were perfect in the Mid-American District Tournament, and we don’t mean that figuratively. The Pens — ranked No. 4 in the country in the latest World Hockey Hub poll — did not allow a single goal in their march to a nationals bid, beating the Indy Fuel 5-0, the Pittsburgh Esmark Stars 4-0, the Tri-State Spartans 12-0 and the Cleveland Barons 6-0 in the final. They certainly enjoyed skating on home ice at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Barons prevailed over the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite in a WHH Top-10 Showdown in the 15O final, as the No. 8 Barons topped the No. 6 Pens 5-1. Cleveland will now start prepping for the drive to USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, while Pittsburgh will hope for an at-large bid.
Culver Academy won both the 16U and the 18U divisions. At the 16U group, Culver finished things off with a 4-1 win over the Esmark Stars, which was some sweet revenge after the Stars beat them 2-1 in overtime the day before. At the 18U tournament, the elder Culver squad wrapped up a flawless weekend with a 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite in the final.
The World Hockey Hub had previously reported on the 15O, 16U and 18U Tier-1 finals back in November — now it’s time to put a bow on it with the 14U division.
The Boston Jr. Eagles posted a perfect 5-0 record en route to a state title. The 2007 birth-year squad will head off to nationals thanks to dominating wins throughout the weekend, including a 6-0 win over Boston Hockey Academy, a 3-0 win over Top Gun and a 6-0 win over the South Shore Kings in the final.
This upcoming weekend, the Rocky Mountain District (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah), the Northern Plains District (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming), the New York District, the Central District (Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois and Missouri) and the Michigan District will all have their national-bound championships. That means one jam-packed hockey weekend with a lot on the line for the participating teams.
For continued coverage of USA Hockey Nationals and what teams are earning automatic bids to the tournament, be sure to follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube! We will have top teams, predictions, players to watch and much more from the best teams in the game.
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