Nicholas Kempf, John Whipple among top performers at youth hockey championships

Earlier this week, World Hockey Hub wrapped up the 14U, 15-Only and 16U Tier 1 national championships for USA Hockey. There, we profiled the championship teams and their paths to a title.

Now, we take a closer look at some of the standouts with our All-Tournament Team selections.

Forwards:

James Reeder (Chicago Mission 16U), James Hagens (Mount St. Charles 15O), Jack Murtagh (Bishop Kearney Selects 14U)

Can we make some sort of pun for James Reeder being a man on a mission for Mission? Nobody topped his points total in the 14-16 age groups at nationals, as the Glenview, Ill., native racked up 12 points in only five games. He was crucial to his Mission team, despite them falling short in the semifinals. Two goals in a 4-3 OT win, three points in a 5-3 win, lone goal in a 3-1 loss, four points in the quarterfinals in a 6-4 win, and two assists in the aforementioned semifinals. Reeder was the driving force offensively for his team and the rest of the tournament field took notice. Reeder was a third-round pick of the Dubuque Fighting Saints in last year’s USHL Draft. 

Much like Reeder, James Hagens’ squad didn’t achieve 15O supremacy, but it wasn’t from his lack of effort. The Mount St. Charles star forward had nine points in only four games, despite being one of the top players in his age group, and surely being the focal point of defensive schemes from the opposition each night. We’re expecting that this wasn’t the last time he will spend quality time at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, as Hagens should be on the NTDP Under-17 Team next fall after strong showings at both nationals and the NTDP Evaluation Camp just a short time before. Elite Prospects has him posting 72 points in only 34 games this season.

Jack Murtagh matched Reeder’s scoring totals for tops in the age groups at Nationals, as he racked up 12 in five games. It should come as no surprise; the native of East Greenbush, N.Y. is already 5-foot-8 and not afraid to use his size to his advantage. We’re expecting big things from this ’07 birth-year forward as he progresses through the ranks — Murtagh thrived in his first season with the BK Selects, posting 101 points in 68 games. 

Defense:

John Whipple (Shattuck-St. Mary’s 15O) and Holden Carter (Chicago Mission 14U)

John Whipple may have been breaking in the ice at his future home during the national tournament. A recent invitee to the USA Hockey’s NTDP Evaluation Camp in Plymouth, Whipple thrived there a few weeks ago, and then again this past week at the national tournament in the same building. Whipple, a native of Morristown, N.J., led the 15O defensemen in scoring with eight points in six games. Whipple finished the season — his second with Shattuck — with 55 points in 54 games, along with 91 penalty minutes.

Holden Carter led the 14U Mission team and the blue liners in his age group in scoring at Nationals, racking up five points in six games en route to his team’s national title on home ice. We went with Carter as the representative for a Mission ’07 group who all deserve all-tournament team recognition – their ability to shut down the opposition throughout the entire tournament was impressive, to say the least. Not sure how to check the record books on this one, but Mission only allowed five shots on goal in their semifinal victory over the Northeast Wisconsin Jr. Gamblers, which has to be some kind of record, given the time and place of that defensive dominance. 

Goaltender:

Nicholas Kempf (Chicago Mission 15O)

He played in five of the six games Chicago Mission needed to capture a national championship, and along the way allowed only six goals. Kempf finished the tournament with a 1.20 goals-against average, a .944 save percentage and one shutout, serving as the rock for a Mission team that marched through the field in Plymouth, Mich., en route to the 15O title. He must have enjoyed skating on familiar ice, after just having participated in the USA Hockey’s NTDP Evaluation Camp a few weeks ago, and getting his fair share of time at USA Hockey Arena in HPHL events with rival Compuware, too. 

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Chicago Organization Claims Two Titles At The 2022 USA Hockey Nationals

What. A. Finish.

The 2021-22 USA Hockey season came to a close Monday, with national championship contests playing out across the country.

Chicago Mission prevailed in the 14U and 15O groupings, while the Bishop Kearney Selects won the 16U crown. The 18U crown went to Mount St. Charles. A breakdown of each age group’s championship run.

Photo courtesy of USA Hockey

14U Division

One vs. two, just like how the rankings drew it up.

No. 1 Shattuck-St. Mary’s and No. 2 Chicago Mission had been battling for top billing all season, and when it mattered most, the boys from Chicago got it done.

Cameron McKinney scored the lone goal in the third period as Mission erased a 2-0 deficit and beat Shattuck 3-2 for the 14U Tier 1 National Championship.

“We have men in the locker room. I really believe so,” Mission coach Christian Hmura told USA Hockey after the game. “They think like men, they act like men, both physically and mentally. They understand that a game is an entire game, not just a period or a couple shifts. I just think we were on a different level from the rest of the teams here this week.”

The victory — which came on home ice in Chicago — prevented SSM from defending its 14U crown. Chicago finishes the season with a 3-1 record against Shattuck; the SSM crew only had two other losses all year.

Mission, meanwhile, finishes the year with a 70-9-3 record. They dominated the 14U national tournament, finishing with a 6-0 record. Nothing was going to stop them reaching the finals, either. They allowed only five shots by the Northeast Wisconsin Jr. Gamblers in a 4-0 win on Sunday, and none of those came in the third period.

Jacob Borzecki led Mission in scoring with eight points in six games, while McKinney had seven and Jacob Hutchen had six.

Bjorn Bronas played in all six games for the green and black, racking up a 1.66 goals-against average, a .900 save percentage and one shutout.

There were plenty of other notable performances in the 14U division. Jack Hurtagh of Bishop Kearney led the tournament with 12 points in only five games; Jr. Gamblers’ Cullen Potter had 11 and Mount St. CharlesConrad Fondrk had 10.

Shattuck’s Harrison Boettiger finished with a .936 save percentage and 1.77 goals-against average in five games. 

Photo courtesy of USA Hockey

15O Division

Just like with the 14s, Mission and Shattuck squared off in the 15-Only Tier 1 National Championship.

Same matchup, same result. The Mission 2006 squad is driving back home with the national title after a 4-1 victory over SSM.

Gustas Zemaitis scored twice, while Robert Bartell scored the go-ahead goal and Jake Merens added an empty-netter for Mission’s big win at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich., Monday afternoon.

Mission had 16 shots, while Shattuck had 43 – shot differential didn’t matter though, as goaltender Nicholas Kempf stymied Sabres shooters time and time again.

The boys from Chicago wrapped up a 6-0-0 run through the national tournament with the win, their second over SSM in Plymouth. 

“It’s not an easy task to beat Shattuck twice in the same tournament,” head coach of Chicago Mission Michal Pivonka told USA Hockey. “I’m so proud of my guys, we had a rough ride with them early in the season but when we beat them in the round robin, they got it, it showed that we can take them on. I told them that we’ll probably see them in the final if we make it, and that’s what happened.”

Merens, Charles Pardue and Eero Butella all tied for the team scoring lead with 10 points apiece. Kempf, who played in five of the six games for Mission, finished with a remarkable .944 save percentage, 1.20 goals-against average and one shutout. 

Shattuck’s Brodie Ziemer led the tournament in scoring with 11 points. Theo Kiss of Mount St. Charles had 10, while teammate James Hagens had nine, in only four games.

John Whipple of Shattuck led the blue liners in scoring, racking up eight points in six games.

Photo courtesy of USA Hockey

16U Division

It was an All-New York final in the 16U Tier 1 National Championship, and the Bishop Kearney Selects topped their in-state rivals the Long Island Gulls 4-1 for the ultimate bragging rights.

Jack Plandowski, Owen King and Brendan Boring scored to erase an early Gulls lead, while Paul Dalessio stopped 29 of the 30 shots sent his way in the title game, which took place in Rochester, Mich.

“I’ve never been so hype in my life,” King, the Selects’ captain, told USA Hockey. “This is just a surreal feeling, I can’t even believe it. I’m so happy for the team.”

The BK boys posted a perfect 6-0-0 record in the tournament, which included nailbiter one-goal wins over the Yale Jr. Bullodgs, Culver Academy and Chicago Mission in the semifinals. 

Christian Humphreys and Matthew Lee tied for the team lead in scoring with seven points apiece; King was one back with six.

Dalessio started four of the games for the Selects and compiled a dominating .945 save percentage and 2.00 goals-against average along the way. Counterpart Florian Wade excelled in his opportunities between the pipes, as well, as he recorded a .976 save percentage, a 0.50 goals-against average and one shutout in his two starts. 

Two Mission forwards led the tournament in scoring – James Reeder had 12 points in five games, and Noah Powell had 10. Jamison Sluys of Long Island turned in eight points.

Championship season is nearing its end, and WHH will have continued coverage of youth hockey tournaments from around the globe! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest news, updates and more!

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It’s On To The Elimination Rounds At The 2022 USA Hockey Nationals

Just like that, the preliminary rounds have concluded for USA Hockey’s 14U, 15-Only and 16U Tier-I National Championships. Let’s take a look at the remaining teams and Saturday’s match-ups for what will be a thrilling end to the youth hockey season in the U.S.

14U Division

The projected quarterfinal matchups are as follows:

Pittsburgh Penguins Elite vs. Shattuck-St. Mary’s
Bishop Kearney Selects vs. Mount St. Charles
Northeast Wisconsin Jr. Gamblers vs. Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers
Dallas Stars Elite vs. Chicago Mission

No. 1-ranked Shattuck is on a mission to defend its national title, and they were perfect in the preliminary round after a 7-3 win over the Nashville Jr. Predators, a 3-2 win over the Jr. Gamblers and 3-0 win over the L.A. Jr. Kings. The Penguins beat Team North Dakota 12-2 and Compuware 10-4 but lost to Mid-Fairfield 7-3 on Friday. 

Mount St. Charles took the top spot in the Liberty Division with wins over the Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars but a loss to Little Caesars. Bishop Kearney, meanwhile, checks in as the No. 2 seed in the NHL Division after wins over the Boston Jr. Eagles and California Golden Bears but a loss to Mission. 

Mid-Fairfield was perfect in preliminary play after a 3-0 win over Compuware, a 4-3 win over North Dakota and a 7-3 win over the Penguins. The Gamblers, meanwhile, took care of the L.A. Jr. Kings and Nashville Jr. Predators but dropped their contest against Shattuck.

Mission has been thriving on home ice, with a 5-2 win over the California Golden Bears, a 2-1 win over the Boston Jr. Eagles and a 6-2 win over Bishop Kearney to give them a perfect 3-0 record. Dallas, meanwhile, emerges as the No. 2 seed from a Liberty Division that had three 2-1 teams – Mount St. Charles finished in the top spot, Dallas got the second, and Little Caesars did not advance.

Five players are tied for the scoring lead with eight points apiece – Pittsburgh’s Quinn McKenzie, Bishop Kearney’s Cooper Dennis, Mount St. Charles’ Conrad Fondrk, NEW Jr. Gamblers’ Cullen Potter and Pittsburgh’s John Mooney.

Bjorn Bronas has started all three games for Mission, and he has a .918 save percentage and 1.65 goals-against average. Micah Adams started all three games for Dallas, and he holds a .910 save percentage and 2.00 goals-against average. 

15O Division

Let’s take a look at the quarterfinals for the 15O group:

Shattuck-St. Mary’s vs. Mount St. Charles
Bishop Kearney Selects vs. Little Caesars
Windy City Storm vs. Chicago Mission
Dallas Stars Elite vs. St. Louis AAA Blues

Talk about starting the elimination round with a bang. That’s a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown in the very first quarterfinal tilt, with No. 1 Mount St. Charles squaring off with No. 2 Shattuck-St. Mary’s. The M’s played to a perfect 3-0 record in the preliminary round, starting with a 12-4 win over the Sioux Falls Power before beating the Windy City Storm 7-2 and Team Alaska 6-3. They emerge as the top seed out of the USA Division. Shattuck, meanwhile, exits the Olympic Division as the No. 2 seed, after finishing the round robin with a 2-1 record. Chicago Mission gave them a 6-3 loss Friday.

With that win, Mission – ranked No. 4 in the country – has a date with an in-state rival in the No. 7-ranked Windy City Storm. Mission posted a 4-0 blanking of the North Jersey Avalanche and an 8-2 win over the Minuteman Flames to dominate the Olympic Division; Windy City’s lone loss came to Mount St. Charles. They’re the No. 2 seed coming out of the USA Division.

Another top-five showdown will take place between No. 3 Little Caesars and No. 5 Bishop Kearney. Caesars led the Liberty Division with a 2-1 record – wins over the Dallas Stars Elite and the Nashville Jr. Predators but a blemish from a 5-4 overtime loss to the Cleveland Barons. The BK Selects finished No. 2 in the NHL Division, with wins over the L.A. Jr. Kings and St. Louis Blues, and a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite.

The final quarterfinal pits the Blues and the Dallas Stars. As noted above, Dallas’ lone loss came to Little Caesars, giving them the No. 2 spot in the Liberty Division. Meanwhile, the Blues finished in the top spot in the NHL Division; they had a loss but they won the tie-breaker with Bishop Kearney to earn the No. 1 seed. 

Mount St. Charles players have dominated the scoring race, as Theo Kiss checks in at No. 1 with nine points, Joseph Monteiro is second with eight and James Hagens is right behind with seven. Shattuck’s Brodie Ziemer has eight points and John Galanek has seven. Evan Sofikitis of Little Caesars and John Whipple of Shattuck tie for the blueliner scoring lead, both at six points apiece.

Nashville netminder Calvin Gardner started all three games for the Jr. Preds and finished with a .912 save percentage and 1.94 goals-against average. Shattuck’s William Lubimov has two shutouts already. Connor Addington of the Dallas Stars has a .974 save percentage and 0.48 goals-against average in two games. 

16U Division

Here’s who we’ve got in the 16U quarterfinals:

Shattuck-St. Mary’s vs. Long Island Gulls
Yale Jr. Bulldogs vs. North Jersey Avalanche
Chicago Mission vs. New Jersey Rockets
Culver Academy vs. Bishop Kearney Selects

Just like in the 15s, a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown kicks off the elimination rounds. Shattuck, ranked No. 1 in the country, checks in as the No. 2 seed in the Olympic Division after they lost to the New Jersey Rockets 6-3 on Friday and had two one-goal games in their victories. The Gulls, meanwhile, are the top seed in the USA Division after posting a 4-2 win over Sioux Falls Power, a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and a 3-1 win over Chicago Mission

The North Jersey Avalanche enter the postseason with the top spot in the Liberty Division, despite a 6-2 loss to Florida Alliance in between a pair of one-goal wins against Culver Academy and Compuware. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, won a three-way tiebreaker with the Arizona Jr. Coyotes and Boston Jr. Eagles for the No. 2 seed in the NHL Division after all three finished with 1-2 records.

The New Jersey Rockets finished with a 3-0 record in the Olympic Division, claiming the top seed and a date with Chicago Mission. Aside from the aforementioned win over Shattuck, the Rockets also took down the Anaheim Jr. Ducks and Mount St. Charles. Mission, meanwhile, had wins over Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and Sioux Falls Power but a loss to the Gulls.

Bishop Kearney posted a 2-1 win over the Yale Jr. Bulldogs, a 3-0 win over the Jr. Coyotes and a 6-2 win over the Boston Jr. Eagles en route to the No. 1 seed in the NHL Division. They will take on Culver Academy, which lost to North Jersey to start but rebounded with a 4-1 win over Compuware and 2-1 win over Florida Alliance.

There’s a five-way tie for the scoring lead at 16U – Mission’s James Reeder, Compuware’s Jaden Johnson, New Jersey’s Kamil Bednarik, Anaheim’s Ty Henricks and New Jersey’s Matthew Desiderio all finished preliminary round with six points apiece. 

Bishop Kearney’s Paul Dalessio has a .957 save percentage and 1.44 goals-against average in two games; Yale’s Aiden Hopewell has the same goals-against with a .947 save percentage in the same amount of crease time.

Want more coverage of the 2022 USA Hockey Nationals? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for continuing news on the top performers, advancing teams and eventual champions of the 16U, 15O and 14U tournaments!

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WHH Predictions For Pool Play At 2022 USA Hockey Nationals

We’ve been ranking them and debating them all season long, but it’s finally time for the teams to settle things themselves.

The 2022 USA Hockey National Championships for the 14U, 15-Only and 16U Tier-I age groups officially begins on Wednesday, as American hockey’s best teams come together with the ultimate bragging rights on the line.

The 14U age group will play out in Chicago, while the 15-Only’s are at USA Hockey Arena (home of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program) in Plymouth, Mich., and the 16U division is just northeast of the 15s in Rochester, Mich.

We've got expert picks and analysis from the three major age groups, and everything you need to know to get ready for puck drop tomorrow.

14U Division - Chicago, Illinois

Last year, Shattuck-St. Mary’s completed an almost perfect season, compiling a 45-1-2 record en route to the 14U national title. Things could play out the same way this year, as they storm into Chicago with a 46-5-1 record, and the No. 1 spot in the World Hockey Hub’s rankings.

Shattuck will start tournament play in the USA Division; the 16 teams competing for the national title are split into four groups. The other three teams in the USA bunch are the Nashville Jr. Predators, the WHH U.S. ranked No. 7 Los Angeles Jr. Kings and the No. 10 Northeast Wisconsin Jr. Gamblers.

After dominating the Central District’s tournament to earn a nationals bid with wins over Chicago Mission (more on them later), CarShield and Omaha Mastery, we like the Gamblers’ chances to join Shattuck in advancing to the elimination rounds later this week.

In the Liberty Division, No. 3 Little Caesars and No. 5 Mount St. Charles will need to take care of business against the Dallas Stars Elite and Philadelphia Flyers, and expect the top two to take care of business.

From the Olympic Division, the safe money is on the No. 4-ranked Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and No. 8-ranked Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers. They better keep their focus though, as Team North Dakota is relatively unknown coming out of the Northern Plains District — MyHockeyRankings has them only at 9-10-1 on the season — and Compuware took down No. 1 Shattuck in February.

And in the NHL Division, the team competing with Shattuck for the top spot all season — Chicago Mission — will be joined by the No. 9-ranked Bishop Kearney Selects in trying to advance to the postseason against the California Golden Bears and the Boston Jr. Eagles.

Pool-play advancement predictions: Shattuck St. Mary’s, Northeast Wisconsin Jr. Gamblers, Little Caesars, Mount St. Charles, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite, Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers, Chicago Mission, Bishop Kearney Selects

Predicted champs: Shattuck-St. Mary’s

Darkhorse to watch: Northeast Wisconsin Jr. Gamblers

15O Division - Plymouth, Michigan

The eyes of the junior scouting world will be on Plymouth this week, as the 2006 birth-year competes for a national title before the junior league drafts take place. 

Mount St. Charles, the No. 1 ranked team by WHH, headlines a USA Division that also features the Sioux Falls Power, the No. 9 Team Alaska and the No. 7 Windy City Storm. It’s the only division featuring three teams on the WHH U.S. rankings, which means that the favorite has its hands full. Team Alaska is used to traveling, and they have racked up wins against some of the top teams in the country over the year. We like them to turn some heads this week.

In the Olympic Division, No. 2 Shattuck-St. Mary’s has No. 4 Chicago Mission, the North Jersey Avalanche and Minuteman Flames. A Shattuck vs. Mission showdown in the preliminary round? Sign us up.

The NHL Division has No. 5 Bishop Kearney, No. 6 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite, the St. Louis AAA Blues and the Los Angeles Jr. Kings — a deep cross-country group that may beat each other up too much before the playoffs start.

Last but not least is the Liberty Division, with No. 3 Little Caesars, No. 8 Cleveland Barons, Dallas Stars Elite and the Nashville Jr. Predators. Between the grouping and the fact that they’re skating on as close to home ice as most programs could get for nationals. Little Caesars could go on to enjoy some home cooking. Plus, head coach Jason Deskins knows what it takes, considering he was the head coach of last year’s 15O national champions at HoneyBaked

Pool-play advancement predictions: Mount St. Charles, Team Alaska, Shattuck St. Mary’s, Chicago Mission, Bishop Kearney, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite, Little Caesars, Dallas Stars Elite

Predicted champs: Little Caesars

Darkhorse to watch: Team Alaska

16U Division - Rochester, Michigan

There’s a lot to like in the 16U age group, especially up at the top. The Shattuck-St. Mary’s team has been a force all season, but they’ve got some steep competition ready to challenge them in Metro Detroit, as early as their preliminary-round grouping.

There, SSM faces No. 5 Mount St. Charles, the No. 9 New Jersey Rockets and an Anaheim Jr. Ducks squad that’s been making a case for a higher ranking all year, too, having just 12 losses on the season.

In the Liberty Division, No. 3 Compuware will try to capitalize on being able to sleep in their own beds, while they deal with a No. 6 North Jersey Avalanche squad that won a Eastside Elite Top 20 Challenge title last time they were hanging out in Michigan, as well as Culver Academy and Florida Alliance.

The USA Division features the No. 2 Long Island Gulls, No. 8 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite, Sioux Falls Power and Chicago Mission. The Gulls have 51 wins on the season, and the last time they saw the Baby Pens, they beat them by a combined 10-0 over two games. 

Rounding things out is the NHL Division, which features the No. 4 Boston Jr. Eagles, No. 7 Bishop Kearney Selects, Yale Jr. Bulldogs and Phoenix Jr. Coyotes. The BK vs. Eagles game should be a dandy, as they are ranked No. 4 and No. 5 by MyHockeyRankings. 

Pool-play advancement predictions: Shattuck St. Mary’s, Mount St. Charles, Compuware, North Jersey Avalanche, Long Island Gulls, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite, Boston Jr. Eagles, Bishop Kearney Selects

Predicted champs: Shattuck-St. Mary’s

Darkhorse to watch: North Jersey Avalanche

Want more from USA Hockey Nationals? WHH will have exclusive coverage, expert picks, game breakdowns, top performers and more throughout the course of the six-day tournament. Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitterTikTok and YouTube to stay up-to-date on all the action!

CSSHL Crowns Western League Champions

The Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) is Western Canada’s premier youth hockey league. It’s where countless Western Hockey League (WHL) and NCAA prospects develop before being drafted and making college commitments. With 26 schools and academies across eight Canadian provinces, the CSSHL is one of the most premier leagues in all of youth hockey.

Western championships concluded over the weekend, as a group of teams emerged victorious out of a deep field of talent. Action included a total of 94 teams skating across eight divisions, and only a few could be named top dogs of the 2021-22 season.

U15 Prep Western Champions: Edge School

The U15 groups featured a pair of firsts for the growing league. Delta Hockey Academy won its first-ever U15 Prep Western Championship with their 7-3 win over RINK Hockey Academy Kelowna on March 15.

Damian Kravcak posted a hat trick and an assist for Delta in the championship tilt, while teammate Chase Harrington logged two goals and four assists when it mattered most. Goaltender Armaan Kaila stopped 40 of the 43 shots sent his way.

The victory wrapped up a perfect 5-0 playoff performance for Delta; they beat Burnaby Winter Club 5-1, Pacific Coast Academy 1-0, RINK Winnipeg 4-1 and Edge School 5-4 before taking on RINK Kelowna in the title bout.

The leading scorers in the U15 Prep division didn’t reach the final. Noah Kosick of Pacific Coast Hockey Academy had a whopping 96 total points in 29 games, while Cole Reschny of Northern Alberta Xtreme had 92 in only 25 games. Graham Jones of RINK Winnipeg had 81 to round out the top three.

Reese Hamilton of NAX led all defensemen in scoring over the course of the season, racking up 54 points in 27 games. 

Ryan Grout of NAX led in all of the major goaltending categories, turning in a 17-0-0 record, a 1.53 goals-against average, .938 save percentage and four shutouts on the season.

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U16 Prep Western Champions: Northern Alberta Xtreme

For the third time in a row, Northern Alberta Xtreme captured the U16 Prep Western Championship.

This time around, they took down Edge School 7-2 in the final, thanks in large part to a two-goal, one-assist effort from Brock Souch and a one-goal, three-assist outing from Owen Berge.

Spencer Michnik stopped 27 of the 29 shots sent his way, which helped NAX keep the league’s two leading scorers – Terik Parascak (98 points in 34 games) and Miles Cooper (82 points in 33 games) to one assist total.

Berge led NAX in scoring over the course of the season, tying for third in the CSSHL with Ty Gordon of OHA Edmonton at 63 points total.

Hyde Davidson of NAX led all defensemen in league scoring with 36 points in 34 games.

Michnik registered some of the best numbers for goaltenders in the U16 age group, as he finished with a 15-3-0 record, a 1.58 goals-against average, a .925 save percentage and four shutouts.

NAX was impressive from start to finish in the postseason. They first beat Pacific Coast Academy 6-1 before topping Burnaby Winter Club 5-3, RINK Winnipeg 7-2 and RINK Kelowna 7-3 before the final showdown with Edge.

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U17 Prep Western Champions: Delta Hockey Academy

Delta Hockey Academy turned in a dominating performance in the U17 Prep Western Championship, beating St. George’s School by a score of 9-3.

Dominating is a good way to describe Delta’s sprint through the playoffs; the title game was the first postseason outing where they didn’t break double digits. Delta beat International 17-2, Okanagan White 17-3, Pilot Mound 10-3 and Okanagan Black 13-2 before seeing St. George’s in the final.

Miguel Marques registered two goals and two assists for Delta in the final. Those totals shouldn’t be a surprise; Marques led the league in scoring with a remarkable 116 points in 31 games. 

Delta’s Jordan Gavin was just behind his teammate in league scoring, checking in at No. 2 with 105 points in 28 games. In fact, Delta forwards held the top three spots in the scoring race, as Tomas Mrsic had 98 points in 28 games. 

Colton Roberts, meanwhile, had nine goals and 36 assists for 45 points in 31 games to lead all defensemen in scoring for Delta.

Delta’s goaltenders dominated the stats page, too. Noah Stenvig, who recorded 12 saves on 15 shots in the final, finished with a 2.32 goals-against average on the season. The only goaltender with a better mark there was teammate Darian Moberly, who had a 2.05 goals-against. The duo had only two regulation losses between them in the 2021-22 campaign.

The only goaltender to have a better save percentage than the Delta boys was Gabe Bergeron of Edge – he had a .921 save percentage, along with a 14-3-0 record, a 2.54 goals-against average and two shutouts.

U18 Prep Western Champions: BWC Academy

BWC Academy captured their first CSSHL U18 Prep Western Championship on March 20, beating Edge School in the final by a score of 6-3.

The win capped a perfect 5-0 run through the postseason for BWC.

In the final, the club demonstrated balanced scoring, as six different players found the back of the net. Charlie Tritt stopped 30 of the 33 shots sent his way to pick up the win between the pipes.

Luca Primerano led BWC in scoring with 58 points in 35 games over the course of the 2021-22 season. 

It’s championship season across the world of youth hockey! From CSSHL championships to USA Hockey Nationals, Russia and Sweden national tournaments and more, WHH has got you covered on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube!

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The Last Group of American Teams Secure Automatic Bids

It was the final weekend of USA Hockey’s Districts and Affiliates hosting their respective tournaments to award automatic bids to the national tournament. There was more than enough hockey action across the country.

The Atlantic District (Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey), the Central District (Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri), the New England District (Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont), the New York District, the Rocky Mountain District (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah), the Northern Plains District (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming) and the Michigan District all crowned champions on Sunday and Monday, making the weekend one of the wildest of the youth hockey season.

The following teams had already secured a spot in the 2022 USA Hockey national tournaments.

ALREADY BOOKED

14U15O16U
Shattuck-St. Mary’s
California Golden Bears
Nashville Jr. Predators
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite
Boston Jr. Eagles
Shattuck-St. Mary’s
Minuteman Flames
Los Angeles Jr. Kings
Nashville Jr. Predators
Cleveland Barons Elite
Shattuck-St. Mary’s
Boston Jr. Eagles
Anaheim Jr. Ducks
Florida Alliance
Culver Academy

With seven other districts in action over the weekend, here’s a closer look at teams who added their names to the field expected at nationals next month:

TICKET PUNCHED

Michigan District

At the 14U level, Little Caesars stormed through the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) state playoffs to secure their first USA Hockey National Championship experience in their first opportunity. The 2007 birth-year LC squad — ranked No. 10 worldwide by World Hockey Hub — played Fox Motors in their first game and their last game of the tournament, and both times the games ended 1-0 in favor of the blue and orange (including overtime in the final). 

Caesars got it done at the 15O level, as well, as their best-of-three series with HoneyBaked went the distance. After HB won Game 1 6-2, LC — No. 6 on the WHH global rankings — didn’t allow a single goal. The ’06 boys won Game 2 3-0 and the winner-take-all Game 3 by a 4-0 final.

At 16U, Compuware made sure some of the hardware would end up with other Michigan programs, as they battled with LC all the way to overtime of Game 3. Compuware, the No. 5 team in the world and No. 3 in the U.S., won Game 1 4-3 before Caesars forced a Game 3. In the finale, Compuware got it done in OT, winning 3-2.

Atlantic District

The Philadelphia Flyers Elite took the 14U division of the Atlantic District, as they lived up to their No. 1 seed billing in the tournament. In a best-of-three matchup with the New Jersey Rockets, the ‘07 Flyers only needed the first two games, posting a 3-0 victory in Game 1 and a 5-3 win in Game 2 to head home early.

The North Jersey Avalanche and New Jersey Rockets needed all three games to decide a winner at the 15O level. The Avs took Game 1 by a score of 6-2, but the Rockets evened the series with a 4-3 win on Sunday. In Monday’s finale, the No. 1-seeded Avs earned a trip to nationals with a 4-3 victory.

At the 16U level, the Avs won, as well. Fresh off a Eastside Elite Top 20 tournament win, the ’05 New Jersey club — ranked No. 6 in the U.S. — shut out the Rockets in Game 1 with a 3-0 win, then finished things off with a 4-3 victory in Game 2.

Central District

The Central District settles things with a round-robin style final weekend; everybody plays everybody and the team with the most points in the standings goes on to nationals. At the 14U level, there was still a championship game of sorts, as the Northeast Wisconsin Jr. Gamblers and Chicago Mission met in the final game of the weekend in a winner-take-all battle between two undefeated teams. Might not be fair to call it an upset when both teams are ranked in the U.S. Top 10, but it was still a huge win the No. 10-ranked Gamblers, as they blanked the No. 2-ranked Mission squad for a 2-0 final.

At the 15O level, the St. Louis AAA Blues turned in a perfect weekend. They punched their tickets to nationals with a 3-1 win over Team Wisconsin, a 6-2 win over the No. 7 Windy City Storm and a 6-1 win over the Des Moines Buccaneers.

Mission did just enough to win the tiebreaker with CarShield in the 16U age group; despite losing their head-to-head, Mission’s loss was in OT, while CarShield lost a game in regulation to Team Wisconsin. With a 7-1 win over Des Moines and a 4-3 win over Team Wisconsin, Mission locked in a nationals appearance.

Other district champions include:

Northern Plains

14U champions – Team North Dakota
15O champions – Sioux Falls Power
16U champions – Sioux Falls Power

New York

14U champions – Bishop Kearney Selects
15O champions – Bishop Kearney Selects
16U champions – Long Island Gulls

New England

14U champions – Mount St. Charles
15O champions – Mount St. Charles
16U champions – Yale Jr. Bulldogs

Rocky Mountain

14U champions – Dallas Stars Elite
15O champions – Dallas Stars Elite
16U champions – Phoenix Jr. Coyotes

By the end of the weekend, all 12 automatic bids at each age group had been awarded. After that, four at-large bids are handed out in order to round out the field of teams at 16 per age group. The at-large bids were granted as follows:

AT-LARGE BIDS

14U15O16U
Chicago Mission
Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers
Los Angeles Jr. Kings
Compuware
Chicago Mission
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite
Windy City Storm
Team Alaska
Bishop Kearney Selects
New Jersey Rockets
Mount St. Charles
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite

Tier-I USA Hockey Nationals are slated to begin on March 30, and WHH will have continued coverage of the events from Chicago (14U), Plymouth (15O) and Rochester (16U). Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest news, expert picks and updates from the tournament.

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The State of Hockey Crowns A Pair Of State Champions

There’s one high school hockey tournament that captures the world’s attention.

You know the one.

The 2022 Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament played out in front of packed crowds at the Minnesota Wild’s Xcel Energy Center, with Hermantown High School capturing the 1A title and Andover High School capturing the 2A title.

The two schools earned state-wide bragging rights on March 12, with Hermantown taking on Warroad High School at noon, and Andover battling Maple Grove High School at 7 p.m.

Schools in Minnesota are split into two divisions — 1A and 2A, as noted above — based upon enrollment and geography, as determined by the Minnesota State High School League. 

Plante Leads Hermantown

Every two years, they re-adjust their classifications to maximize competitive balance.

Junior forward Zam Plante — ranked No. 40 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting heading into this summer’s NHL Draft — led his Hermantown squad to victory with a pair of goals in a 3-2 win.

It was a family affair for the Plante family; Zam’s brother, Max Plante, is a sophomore who skates on the same line as his older sibling. The duo — sons of former NHLer Derek Plante — grew up watching their grandfather, Bruce Plante, routinely lead Hermantown to state finals appearances. It took a while for grandpa’s teams to prevail; Hermantown finally won titles in 2016 and 2017 in Bruce’s final two seasons. 

“I’ve been watching it since I can remember, since my grandpa was coaching,” Zam Plante said via the MN Boys’ Hockey Hub. “Second place, second place, finally got two at the end. And to finally get to do it myself is the best feeling in the world.”

Plante, who has been splitting seasons between Minnesota High School Hockey and the USHL, racked up 61 points in 22 games this season with Hermantown, despite missing time with an injury. 

Hermantown only lost two games all season, both coming to Class 2A schools that reached the state tournament in Cretin-Derham Hall and Maple Grove

Dane Callaway led the way between the pipes for Hermantown, stopping 19 of the 21 shots sent his way. On the season, he recorded a 20-2-0 record, with a 1.47 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and five shutouts.

The victory wrapped up a dominating postseason for Hermantown; the Hawks won their three Section 7A games 13-0, 6-0 and 11-0 to secure their spot at Xcel Energy Center. There, they posted a 5-1 win in the Class A quarterfinal and a 7-1 win in the semifinal before Saturday’s championship bout.

Andover’s OT Thriller

The 2A title game, played in front of 18,950 fans, was a Saturday night thriller that needed two overtimes to decide a winner.

There, in that second extra period, senior forward Logan Gravink scored the biggest goal of the weekend, giving Andover a state title in a 6-5 double overtime win over Maple Grove.

Lou Nanne came and talked to the boys and said this was the best hockey game he’s seen since 1969,” said Andover coach Mark Manney; Nanne has been the state tournament analyst since 1964. “It was fun on the bench and probably a great game to play in. Fortunately, we got the bounce and Logan finished it for us.”

Junior Gavyn Thoreson had quite the memorable goal, as well, as he forced OT by tying the game 5-5 with 1:50 left in regulation. Thoreson led Andover in scoring on the season, as he racked up 29 goals and  74 total points. 

Austin Brauns was the leader from the crease for Andover throughout 2021-22 — he finished with a 22-5-1 record, 1.78 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and five shutouts. 

Josh Giuliani did everything he could for Maple Grove; the senior forward scored a hat trick in the title game, a day after scoring a hat trick in the semifinals. 

Keep your finger on the pulse of youth hockey with World Hockey Hub! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube, and never miss another piece of news, standout prospect or iconic event in the sport!

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Black Bear Sports Group And USPHL Join To Form Mega Youth Hockey League

Some prominent entities in the United States’ east coast hockey community are joining forces.

It was announced this week that Black Bear Sports Group, the United States Premier Hockey League and the Tier-1 Hockey Federation are entering into a new collaboration for their youth hockey programs.

Teams of all ages from across Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania will now play in the THF-USPHL South Division (shortened to “THF South”). Meanwhile, 18U, 16U and 15O teams in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts will play in the USPHL-THF North Division (“USPHL North”), which will be administered by the THF. The youth teams of the USPHL North Member clubs will remain in their current leagues.

The two divisions discussed above will compete at season’s end for a USPHL Championship.

“Through our collaboration with the USPHL, the THF is now a one-of-a-kind organization in that we are the only group with clubs that operate from ‘cradle to college,’ from Mite through Midget at the youth level and every level of junior hockey developing players for NCAA Division-I, II and III schools,” said Murry N. Gunty, Founder and CEO of Black Bear Sports Group. “We are honored to collaborate with the USPHL and their member clubs, and look forward to building upon all of their successes to date.”

Tony Zasowski, previously the director of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), has been named commissioner of the THF. Zasowski brings a wealth of experience to the new role, having led one of the largest youth hockey leagues in the U.S., in addition to his work with the NAHL Central Scouting, prospects tournaments and combines initiatives.

“I am excited to work with all of our member clubs in the THF and USPHL to build one of the top Tier-1 organizations in the country,” said Tony Zasowski, Commissioner of the THF. “We have an amazing group of operators that will support the growth and placement of all our hockey players to the highest levels.”

The Mercer Chiefs will also be purchasing a Tier-2 NCDC junior hockey franchise, and field a team in the 2022-23 season.

“The Mercer Chiefs have a long history of success at the youth level so we are thrilled to have them join us in the NCDC,” said Bob Turow, Commissioner of the USPHL. “We believe this association at the Midget and youth levels will strengthen both of our organizations.”

For more information regarding the latest youth hockey news from around the world, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube!

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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:

14U
Shattuck-St. Mary’s
California Golden Bears
15O
Shattuck-St. Mary’s
Minuteman Flames
Los Angeles Jr. Kings
16U
Shattuck-St. Mary’s
Boston Jr. Eagles
Anaheim Jr. Ducks

Let’s take a look at the teams that are now joining that list:

Southeastern District

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.

Mid-American District

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.

Massachusetts

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.

Next up

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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Pacific District Champions Earn Automatic Bids To National Tournament

March Madness started a week early on the west coast. 

USA Hockey’s Pacific District held its 2022 Tier 1 championships Feb. 24-27, crowning the teams that will represent the region at the upcoming national tournament.

The Pacific District, made up of Alaska, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, gathered its top teams in Irvine, Calif., for an impressive weekend of hockey action.

The California Golden Bears captured the 14U crown, while the Los Angeles Jr. Kings won the 15O division. The Anaheim Jr. Ducks won the 16U and 18U divisions — the latter of which needed a shootout in the title game to decide a winner.

Those teams lock in their spots for the 2022 USA Hockey National Championships, earning automatic bids from the Pacific Division. They join the following teams that have already earned their respective bids:

The Pacific District was the third region to conclude its playoffs. The other nine USA Hockey districts will be hosting their state/district championships over the coming weeks. Each of the national playoff fields will be filled out with a select number of at-large bids, as well.

The 14U Golden Bears impressed as they stormed through the district playoffs to win a region title and a ticket to Chicago for nationals. After starting the tournament off with a 5-4 loss to Team Alaska, they rattled off four straight wins to erase the blunder. A quick turnaround was necessary, as they had the No. 10-ranked L.A. Jr. Kings next on the schedule; the Bears pulled off the upset 6-4.

Momentum led the way from there, as the ‘07 Bears posted a 13-0 win over the Sno-King Jr. Thunderbirds and a 7-2 win over the Anaheim Jr. Ducks to line up a rematch with Team Alaska in the final. There, the Bears got their revenge, topping Alaska 4-2.

In the 15O age group, it was the L.A. Jr Kings getting the job done. Like the Golden Bears above, they had one stumble against Team Alaska, but they were able to rebound when it mattered most.

The Kings started with a 2-0 win over the Anaheim Jr. Ducks, followed by a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ice Dogs. On Saturday, the ’06 Kings dropped a 4-0 game to Team Alaska, but the two teams squared off again on Championship Sunday, and there, it was the Kings winning the game that mattered most. A 2-1 nail biter went the way of L.A., and they’re now packing for USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich., for the 15O national playoffs.

At 16U, the Jr. Ducks rolled through tournament play, with the championship game being the only one that presented any type of stress on the team. The ’05 Ducks started with a bang,  beating the San Jose Jr. Sharks 10-1. They did even better the next day, shutting out the Sno-King Jr. Thunderbirds 10-0. From there, they posted Saturday wins of 7-1 and 11-1 over the Vegas Jr. Golden Knights and San Jose Jr. Sharks, respectively.

In the final, Team Alaska gave ‘em a run for their money, but the Ducks’ four goals were enough to overcome Alaska’s three. With the victory, the Ducks can start planning their trip to Metro Detroit for the 16U nationals.

The 18U Ducks ended up playing the Northwest Stars to a shootout on two different occasions on the weekend, and while the Stars won the first one, the Ducks won the one that sends them to Nationals. Along the way, the Ducks also picked up a 4-1 win over the California Wave and a 5-0 win over Team Alaska. Now, they’re off to Metro Detroit, as well, for the 18U national tournament.

World Hockey Hub will have continued coverage of USA Hockey Nationals and the remaining nine district championships leading up to the tournament. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest in who advances to the ‘big dance!’

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