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.

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