Luke Carrithers backstops SDP Elite to championship run
Champions were crowned at the third annual World Youth Championships in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Top select teams from across North America — and three European clubs — competed for the ‘08 WYC. After more than 100 games of action from the 15U age group, Minnesota-based SDP Elite earned the gold medal with a 5-2 win over Maroon Hockey. Goaltender Luke Carrithers had been one of the best in the tournament, leading his team to the championship with a 7-1-0 record. In the finale, though, he faced a trio of forwards Ben Bowen, Ethan Belchetz and Beckham Edwards from Maroon Hockey that presented the biggest challenge of the week.
Maroon Hockey entered the final as the only undefeated team at the ‘08 WYC. That would change when Riley Zupfer scored three consecutive goals in the second half to secure the championship for SDP Elite. Carrithers was sensational in the finale as well, making 33 saves en route to his tournament-leading sixth win.
Top performers from the ‘08 WYC
Despite surrendering the most shots against in the ‘08 WYC, SDP Elite made it all the way to the ‘08 WYC finale with a 7-1-0 record. Luke Carrithers was a big reason for that playoff run, as he posted a 1.97 goals-against average and .914 save percentage through eight tournament games. An 18-save shutout in the semifinals helped propel SDP Elite to the championship game.
Maroon Hockey entered the final with a three-pronged attack of Ethan Belchetz, Ben Bowen and Beckham Edwards. However, when Carrithers took to the crease, none would be able to find the back of the net. The 5-foot-11 goaltender snuffed out Maroon’s three biggest offensive threats to help SDP Elite win gold on Tuesday.
Even though they were eliminated in the quarterfinals, both Jamie Glance and Braidy Wassilyn finished among the top five in points. A forward for Mount St. Charles this past season, Glance started the tournament off with a five-point performance on Friday. He followed that up with a three-point outing in a 5-2 win over Russia-based Provorov Selects. Glance would put together two more multi-point games before tournament’s end. His most pivotal performance being a two-goal game in the Round of 16, where Glance scored the game-winning goal in a 5-2 win that eliminated DraftDay-Black.
Wassilyn was equally influential for Everest Academy. Skating alongside Alex McLean, Wassilyn helped fuel an offense that finished third in scoring with 30 goals in seven games. The team’s plus-30 goal differential was the second-largest of all 36 participating teams.
They were only out-done by a pair of SDP forwards in Sammy Nelson and Dylan Dean.
Nelson scored a tournament-high 20 points in nine games. Eight of those came in the elimination rounds, including a pair of goals in the championship. Dean — another player from Mount St. Charles this season — added nine goals and 19 points to the mix. Together, they accounted for 37 percent of SDP Elite’s total offense.
Lightly tested throughout the tournament, Jacob Ceranic stopped 69-of-72 shots faced as he won five of his six starts for Maroon Hockey. He made __ of those saves in the _-_ win in the championship game.
SDP Elite’s run to an ‘08 WYC title
After falling to RSG Selects 7-6 in a shootout on the opening day of the tournament, SDP Elite won eight straight games en route to ‘08 WYC gold. Each of their wins would be by a margin of three goals or more, as SDP dominated its opponents.
Nine different SDP skaters average a point per game at the tournament. That depth pushed the Minnesota-based club to the top of the standings. Their plus-36 goal differential was the best among the 36 participating teams.
In the elimination rounds, SDP faced three consecutive opponents who had not experienced a loss. In the quarterfinals, they beat previously undefeated Roc City Elite Red 6-2 on Monday. Then, SDP eliminated Western Canada Prime who was 7-0-0 prior to the matchup. And finally, in the championship, they handed Maroon Hockey its first, only and biggest defeat of the tournament.
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