Jr. Kings, Sun County Panthers, Jr. Flyers and Dallas Stars Elite shine against top competition
More than 100 teams showed up in Boston, Massachusetts, USA this past weekend for the Eastern Exposure Cup. The top teams in each birth year played in the Blue Division, and that’s where our attention is focused. Many divisions featured some interesting crossover battles between top American and Canadian teams.
Los Angeles Jr. Kings Take 2008 Division
The 2008 Blue Division went to the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, a squad that was named world champions earlier this calendar year. One team slated to compete in the Eastern Exposure had a higher ranking than the Kings, but they ended up sorting that one out on the ice.
The Jr. Kings squared off with the No. 3-ranked Windy City Storm in the ’08 Blue Division final. The boys from Hollywood pulled off a 2-0 victory to finish the tournament with a perfect 5-0-0 mark.
Los Angeles also beat Ottawa Myers Automotive 6-0 and the CT Wolfpack 2-1 in preliminary-round play before topping the Ottawa 67’s 3-2 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, they played the Boston Jr. Eagles to a 1-0 final score, before the big showdown with Windy City in the final.
There, Keegan Davis and Tyus Sparks scored first-period goals, and a late tally from the Storm wasn’t enough as the Kings prevailed 2-1.
Sparks led the team in scoring with eight points in five games. Logan Stuart had seven, and Noah Davidson had five.
Sascha Pitaev and Oliver Kanat split time between the pipes. Kanat played in three games to a 1.00 goals-against average and one shutout. Pitaev, meanwhile, played in two games and finished with a 0.50 goals-against and one shutout, as well.
Sparks led the tournament in scoring, as well. A pair of Windy City Storm forwards — Nathan Hauad and Jack Hextall — both had seven to match Stuart.
Sun County Panthers Bring 2009 Championship Back To Canada
The Sun County Panthers — ranked No. 3 in Canada — scratched and clawed their way through the 2009 Division, emerging victorious with a 4-2-0 record.
After starting things off with a 4-3 win over Florida Alliance, the Panthers dropped a 3-2 decision to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights in their second game of Friday’s action.
Saturday started with another tough outing for Sun County, as the Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers beat them 6-3.
In the elimination rounds, however, Sun County sorted things out. First, they topped RSG Academy 3-2 in the quarterfinals. Then, in the semifinals, they were able to get some revenge, topping Mid-Fairfield 3-2 to advance to the finals.
A date with the United States’ No. 9 ranked Boston Jr. Eagles served as the 2009 Blue Division finale. There, the top-ranked Canadian team in the field tangled with a Top-10 U.S. team. Sun County played its most complete game of the weekend, blanking the hometown squad 3-0.
Sun County found success in Beantown with a balanced attack on offense. Standout forward Jaakko Wycisk recorded nine points in the team’s six games. He was the only player on the Panthers’ roster to register more than a point per game. Alexander Lisi recorded five goals and five total points, while Eamon Edgar had three points in the six games. Jordan Maine led the scoring from the blue line, leading the Panthers’ defensemen in scoring with three total points.
Daniel Cinelli took care of the majority of the crease duties; he registered a 1.75 goals-against average and one shutout over his four games.
Trevor Daley, Jr. led the ’09 Blue Division in scoring with 10 points in only five games, while the aforementioned Wycisk was second in the scoring race. Brady Scali of RSG Academy had eight points in only five games.
Five players had seven points — Don Mills Flyers forward Caiden Clair, Florida’s Harrison Hecker, Jr. Eagles’ Carter Meyer, Mid-Fairfield’s Braydon Sisco and Florida’s Reese Tracy.
Aside from Sun County’s Cinelli, Boston’s Daryn Szabo led the goaltenders with a 1.56 goals-against average and one shutout in six games played.
Szabo, and the Jr. Eagles, deserve an extra tip of the cap for running through a gauntlet of ranked teams on their way to the finals. Their tournament experience included three games against World Top-25 teams. It started with a 3-2 win over the No. 18 Toronto Marlboros. Then, the Jr. Eagles dropped their second game 3-1, against the No. 4 ranked Don Mills Flyers. On Saturday, Boston rebounded with a 4-0 win over No. 25 Windy City Storm and a 5-3 win over unranked Ottawa Myers Automotive in the quarters.
In the semifinal, they got revenge on Don Mills, taking down the top Canadian ’09 team by a final score of 4-1.
Top-ranked Jr. Flyers Fend Off All Challengers
In the 2010 Blue Division, the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers took care of business. Entering as the only team in the field ranked, the Jr. Flyers had a tall task at hand of proving their standing. They did just that with a perfect 6-0-0 record against all challengers on the weekend.
On Friday, they posted a pair of 5-0 blankings against Kuper Academy and the Long Island Gulls. Saturday, the shutout streak continued, as they beat the New Jersey Rockets 4-0. In the first playoff game, they gave up a goal — four, in fact — but scored seven of their own to take down the Toronto Nationals.
In the semifinals, Philadelphia had a rematch with the Gulls, and this time it was a 4-0 final. To wrap things up, the Flyers took down the North Jersey Avalanche 7-3.
Bo Christini led the Flyers in scoring with 11 points in six games. Colin MacCormack had nine, and T.J. Petropoulos had eight. Andrew Devyatkin, Henry Albu and Matty Lynn all had six points across the six games.
The Flyers’ goaltending duties were split between Charles Liu and Bryan Schwartz, and they were both dominant. Liu finished with a 1.00 goals-against average and two shutouts in three games, and Schwartz finished with a 1.33 goals-against average and two shutouts in three games, as well.
North Jersey’s Christopher Pinko led the field in scoring with 12 points in six games; teammate William Losauro had 10. Ty McGroarty of the Philadelphia Hockey Club had eight points in five games.
Dallas Stars Elite Outlast All Other Ranked Teams
There were four Top-10 U.S. teams in the field of teams at the 2011 Blue Division. The Dallas Stars Elite were the lowest ranked of four heading into the weekend, but that may need to change.
With a 4-2-0 record, the Stars took home the ’11 title, capping it off with a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Jr. Kings.
The Jr. Kings weren’t ranked at the time, but they did plenty of the heavy lifting. First, they defeated U.S. No. 3 Boston Jr. Terriers in the semifinals. Then, the knocked off U.S. No 2 Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers in the semifinals. They also took down the Stars in preliminary-round play.
For the Stars, it was wins over the U.S. No. 7 Middlesex Islanders, No. 8 Philadelphia Hockey Club and Lehigh Valley Phantoms along the way. Easton Scott led the Stars in scoring with 10 points in six games; Ethan Zhang had five and Payne Deloach had four. Brooks Del Signore played in four of the games for the Stars, registering a 3.08 save percentage along the way.
A pair of Mid-Fairfield forwards led the tournament in scoring in Jackson Liao and Peter Lyden. They both scored 15 points in only five games.
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