States compete for bragging rights in unique spring hockey tournament
The second annual New England States Rivalry Challenge hosted roughly 185 athletes from four different states. Teams at the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 birth years battled it out for state supremacy in this uniquely designed spring tournament that continues to grow in popularity. The tournament structure was a standard round robin, with the champions being whoever finished with the most points in the standings. With that, we’ve got winners and standouts from all four age groups, and who reigned supreme at this weekend’s NESRC.
Team Massachusetts dominated, as the age group graduated to the 16U division for the first time in the 2022-23 USA Hockey calendar. Michael Munroe led the team in scoring with 10 points in four games, while him and teammate Jake Tavares tied each other with seven goals apiece. Colvin Callahan also put up six goals of his own for Massachusetts, a team that scored 30 goals this weekend.
While Team Massachusetts took the top spot with six points in the standings, Team New Hampshire did manage to hand Mass its only loss of the weekend with an 11-4 drubbing on Saturday night. Max Condon scored four of his six goals – and five of his seven points – for NH in their win over Massachusetts. His teammate, Carter Amico scored twice as many points as any other defensemen in the age group with six points.
The Bay State sat at the top of the ’08 Division as well, but this team Massachusetts posted a perfect 3-0 record. This was the only age group with four teams in the field, and the Massachusetts offense was only outdone by its own defense. Ten different scorers accounted for 33 goals, while Stryker Connors and Devan Maloney allowed just five goals against.
Cam MacPherson led all scorers with nine goals and 12 points, with teammate Aidan Fitzpatrick close behind with 10 points. Garrit Turcotte recorded a point in every game for Team New Hampshire, including a three-point game against New York and a four-point game against Vermont.
Team Vermont and Team Massachusetts clashed in a best-of-three series in the ’09 Division. Peyton Albertson, Escher Briere and Cooper Browe scored four unanswered goals in the third period Friday afternoon to take Game 1 for Vermont, 5-1. The next two games provided plenty of back and forth, with each state picking up a win by just one goal. Game 2 featured four lead changes. Devin Conikos, Lucas Kumin and William Gutkoski scored, each time putting Team Massachusetts in front by a goal. However, every time Mass moved themselves out in front, Vermont quickly tied it up, before Albertson, Briere and Browe yet again mounted a third-period offensive to win 5-4.
The third and final game featured an astonishing 17 goals, as Massachusetts got in the win column with a 9-8 victory. Defenseman Max Ludwar‘s hat trick for Vermont was one-upped by Gutkoski, who had a hat trick of his own. Duncan Vittrands and Devin Cokinos both had a pair of goals for Massachusetts as well to fuel the team to victory.
In its home state, Team New Hampshire swept the best-of-three series with Team Vermont in the ’10 Division. Forwards Colton Bamberg, Brayden Gearin and C.J. Sawyer topped the charts in scoring with a combined 13 goals and 26 points. They propelled an offense that was plus-12 in scoring and wore down their opponent.
The score was probably not the biggest indicator of competition at this particular age group. Despite getting swept, Vermont opened the scoring in all three games, and held the lead on five separate occasions throughout those contests. Kuba Pavlik led his home state in scoring with four goals, and Zachary Mandigo followed close behind with three of his own.
Still in the young stages of its history, the New England States Rivalry Challenge is a unique spring hockey tournament experience. Players can register individually to represent their respective home states or, gather a team of friends and compete as a group. The 2022 event featured teams from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, but applicants from all 50 states are welcome, so long as there are enough participants to field a 15-player AAA-level roster. Want more info on next year’s NESRC and how you can represent your home state at the event? Fill out the form below!
New England States Rivalry Challenge
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