Week 21 MHR/LiveBarn Weekend Wrap
Youth and minor hockey playoff action ramped up all over North America during Week 21, and that’s where we looked for our Games of the Week.
Each of our featured games last weekend was from a postseason or championship playoff tournament in the United States. For our first matchup, we took you to the beautiful Centene Community Ice Center outside of St. Louis for some National Girls Hockey League (NGHL) Blue Division Championship tournament action.
The NGHL is a league consisting of teams at various age groups and levels of play from all over the United States that offers competition from ages 10U through 19U. Weekend showcase-style events are scheduled throughout the year to provide exposure for players and supplement their full-time league schedules. Standings are kept and one weekend is set aside at each level to determine league champions.
The Futures Division (10U and 12U) held its championship tournament recently as did the Red Division, which is a combination of Tier 1 and highly ranked Tier 2 teams at the 14U, 16U and 19U levels.
CLICK HERE to find out more about those events.
Last weekend it was time for the NGHL Blue Division Championship, featuring some of the top 14U, 16U and 19U Tier 2 clubs in the United States. Our highlighted game included the No. 15 19U Tier 2 Arizona Kachinas and the 25th-ranked Omaha Lady Lancers in preliminary-round play on Saturday.
Arizona won this matchup, 4-2, and ended up capturing the 19U Blue Division championship by going 6-0-0 on the weekend.
CLICK HERE for the NGHL Blue Division Championship schedule, scores and standings.
From St. Louis we traveled North to Troy, Mich., for playoff action in the 18U Division of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL). A partner of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), the only USA Hockey-sanctioned tuition-free junior league in the United States, the NAPHL provides a league format with showcase-style events held throughout the year, presenting opportunities for boys playing at the 14U, 15U, 16U, and 18U levels to be seen by high-level junior and college scouts.
Last weekend, the NAPHL held its playoffs for its Tier 1 and Showcase Divisions at the 14U, 15U, 16U and 18U levels. CLICK HERE for information about those events.
Our featured game was a Dixon Cup playoff battle of top-25 teams from the 18U Tier 1 Division Saturday as the No. 19 Philadelphia Little Flyers took on the No. 25 Maine Nordiques. Maine skated to a 6-4 victory in this matchup as part of their 3-0-0 weekend, but No 11 CarShield ultimately claimed the 18U championship by going 4-0-1 (OT loss) and knocking off No. 38 Biggby Coffee, 4-3 in the title game. The Little Flyers posted a 2-2-0 record on the weekend.
Our last two Games of the Week were from Illinois and Minnesota, respectively.
State tournament play is underway in Illinois as some of the nation’s top Tier 1 teams compete for berths in the Central District Tournament, which will decide who earns automatic berths to the USA Hockey National Championships in April (for teams 14U and older.
CLICK HERE for links to follow all the action in Illinois.
Our Game of the Week from Illinois was slated to be a top-10 matchup from the 2010 age group as the fifth-ranked Chicago Fury were scheduled to take on the No. 7 Chicago Reapers Sunday. Those two teams opened tournament play by going 3-0-0, however, and are now scheduled to meet next weekend as the top-two seeds to determine the state champion.
District tournament play is underway for club teams in Minnesota at the Bantam (14U) level and younger as teams compete for berths in the regional and ultimately the state tournament.
CLICK HERE for more information on the Minnesota postseason tournament structure.
Our Week 21 highlighted game from Minnesota was a matchup of top-13 Minn-Kota Peewee Teams Sunday as the No. 8 White Bear Lake Bears faced off against the No. 13 Stillwater Ponies. WBL won a 6-5 overtime thriller to advance to a matchup against the No. 5 Mahtomedi Zephyrs Wednesday evening in the double-elimination tournament.
Week 21 MHR/LiveBarn Featured Games of the Week
#15 Arizona Kachinas (4), #25 Omaha Lady Lancers (2)
Level: USA Girls 19U Tier 1
Date: Saturday, February 18
Time: 12:45 p.m. ET
Location: Centene Community Ice Center – Maryland Heights, Mo.
Event: NGHL Blue Division Championship Tournament
The Kachinas entered the NGHL Playoffs a game under .500 playing an ambitious schedule this season. They left St. Louis at 24-19-2 after stringing together six victories and outscoring their opponents, 31-8, to capture the NGHL Blue Division 19U championship. Arizona, which has played the most difficult Tier 2 19U schedule this season, won our featured matchup against Omaha, 4-2, and knocked off the Lady Lancers, 6-3, again in the title clash. Omaha went 3-3-0 on the weekend, falling twice to the Kachinas and dropping a 1-0 decision against the No. 41 Little Flyers. They beat the No. 53 Columbus Blue Jackets twice and No. 76 Dallas Stars Elite once en route to the finals. Arizona beat the Stars twice and Blue Jackets once along with No. 114 Florida Alliance. In the first matchup between Arizona and the Lady Lancers, the Kachinas got first-period goals from Jenna Majewski and Isabella Contreras before Omaha’s Makenna Filleman responded with a second-period tally to cut the margin to 2-1. Majewski buried her second of the game to extend the lead to 3-1 after two, but Calissa Klein pulled the Lady Lancers back to within one late in the final frame. Kyra Mitendorf scored with 12 seconds left to ice the win for the Kachinas. Sophie Villanueva made 35 saves to earn the win for Arizona, while Omaha’s Brynn Knauss stopped 27 shots. Arizona sprinted to a 4-1 lead after the first period of the championship game despite surrendering the contest’s first score to Kyan Wyle. Majewski potted two more goals, with Sabrina Enright, Contreras, Aidyn Digrazia and Olivia Davis also scoring and Villanueva stopping 27 more shots.
#25 Maine Nordiques (6), #19 Philadelphia Little Flyers (4)
Level: USA Boys 19U Tier 1
Date: Saturday, February 18
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Troy Sports Center – Troy, Mich.
Event: NAPHL Tier 1 Playoffs
The first-place Philadelphia Little Flyers took on the fifth-place Maine Nordiques in one of the top early matchups at the 18U Tier 1 NAPHL Playoffs. Philadelphia concluded regular-season NAPHL play with a record of 14-1-0-1 for 43 points, while the Nordiques went 11-5-0-0 for 31 points. Maine had one overtime win, while the Little Flyers recorded one shootout loss. That shootout decision came against the Nordiques in a 2-1 thriller Dec. 4. The two teams also faced off on Sept. 24, with the Little Flyers earning a 3-1 victory. In this pool-play matchup Saturday, Maine jumped to a 2-1 first-period lead thanks in part to Dylan Chun’s goal 29 seconds into the game. Sammy Phillips responded for the Little Flyers 3:12 later, but Grant Dietz made it 2-1 with 4:15 left in the period. Dietz tallied again just 1:25 into the second frame, but Jimmy Jacobs started a three-goal Little Flyers’ run that pushed them in front, 4-3, 12:12 into the period. Hunter Hayes and Zach Crain also scored for the Little Flyers. Maine scored the final three goals of the game, however, with Trace Day and Evan Moore tallying 44 seconds apart late in the second period and Day icing the game 4:33 into the third. Dietz led the way offensively with three points, while Moore, Chun, Anderson Sandquist, Shane Kozlina and Luke Chappelle added two points apiece. Ryan Freshwater stopped 23 shots to earn the win in goal. The Nordiques also beat No. 85 Team Alaska, 4-3, and the No. 88 Northwest Stars, 5-0, during the weekend. Philadelphia beat the Stars, 3-0, and Team Alaska, 5-2, but dropped a 4-1 decision to No. 11 CarShield, the eventual champion.
#5 Chicago Fury vs. #7 Chicago Reapers - UPCOMING
Level: USA Boys 2010 Tier 1
Date: Sunday, February 19
Time: 12:20 p.m. ET
Location: Mt. Prospect Ice Arena – Mt. Prospect, Ill.
Event: Illinois State Tier 1 Playoffs
This game was not played as scheduled. These two teams opened the tournament with three wins and are now scheduled to meet as the top two seends twice next weekend to determine the Illinois state champion. They are scheduled to play Saturday at 11:30 a.m. ET and Sunday at 4:40 p.m.at Mt. Prospect Center Rink. Both games can be seen on LiveBarn.
The Fury beat the No. 41 Windy City Storm, 5-4, Saturday in overtime after previously notching a 4-0 victory against the No. 4 Chicago Mission and a 7-1 victory over No. 58 team Illinois. Meanwhile, the Reapers beat Team Illinois, 3-2, the Mission, 4-0, and Windy City, 5-2, to set up the upcoming weekend’s showdown against the Fury. The Fury will bring a sparkling 43-23-7 record into the weekend, having outscored their opponents, 347-235, while the Reapers enter the weekend at 37-16-4 and holding a 290-151 scoring advantage over their foes to date. This will be the fifth and sixth meetings of the two teams this season, with the Reapers holding a 3-0-1 series advantage in what has been a high-scoring series. The Reapers skated to 8-4, 5-3 and 7-5 victories before the teams played to a 3-all tie Dec. 4 in their most-recent meeting. The Fury are on a seven-game winning streak that has seen them score 46 goals, dating to a 4-3 loss to the Mission Jan. 7. The Reapers are on a hot streak of their own, having won 11 straight outings dating to a 6-3 loss to Ontario’s top-ranked Toronto Jr. Canadiens Jan. 6. They rebounded from that setback to knock off No. 10 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite, 3-2, the following day and have outscored their opponents, 61-21, during the recent winning streak.
#8 White Bear Lake Bears (6), #13 Stillwater Ponies (5) OT
Level: Minn-Kota Peewee AA
Date: Sunday, February 19
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
Location: St. Croix Valley Recreation Center – Stillwater, Minn.
Event: Minnesota District 2 Playoffs
The top early Minnesota Peewee District 2 playoff matchups featured a pair of top-13 Minn-Kota AA teams as White Bear Lake and Stillwater faced off Sunday. The Bears brought a 28-12-6 record into the contest and had outscored their opponents, 227-140. Stillwater was 23-15-1 and had outscored its foes, 216-152. These two teams had met three times previously, splitting two of the meetings, with the other ending in a 4-4 tie. WBL won, 6-5, Dec. 11, while Stillwater won, 8-5, Nov. 11. White Bear Lake came away with another 6-5 victory in Sunday’s matchup, this time needing overtime to seal the deal and advance to a winner’s-bracket showdown vs. the No. 5 Mahtomedi Zephyrs at 6:00 p.m. ET Wednesday. Stillwater dropped into the loser’s bracket and will play an elimination game Thursday at 6:15 p.m. ET against No. 41 Forest Lake, which lost to Mahtomedi, 7-1, Sunday. If Stillwater wins that game, it will take on the loser of the Mahtomedi-White Bear Lake game Saturday at 10:30 a.m. ET.