Semifinal Preview: Play & Save of the Year Contests Down to the Wire
This is it!
We started nearly two months ago with 32 great plays and 32 spectacular saves. Now, after 56 matchups, several razor-thin voting margins, a teammate vs. teammate quarterfinal battle and seven weeks, we are down to the final four.
Get ready for our MYHockeyRankings Play of the Year and Save of the Year semifinals. Beginning on the afternoon of Tuesday, Aug. 1, there will be one semifinal matchup per day in alternating categories, starting with the first Save of the Year semi featuring Ty Imbeau from Nickel City Sons U13 and Cy McCrink of the Richmond Generals USPHL Elite junior team.
McCrink, who slides across the crease to make an incredible save that sends his stick flying behind the net, advanced to the final four by winning his first-round vote, 59 percent to 41 percent, over Lennon Kuehl of North Carolina Golden Bears 18U before knocking off Hugh Rooney of the Pelham Pelicans, 58-52, and edging Blake Bell of the Littleton Hawks by just seven votes in the quarterfinals.
Imbeau upset one of the top seeds, Cecilia Wielenberg of Team Illinois 14U, 53-47 in the second round, and went on to beat Arizona Bobcat 10U Brayden Barnes, 64-36, in the quarters. He defeated Ryan Calabrese of Pens Elite, 55-45, in Round 1. Imbeau’s save also is a beauty as he literally dives across the top of the crease in desperation to glove a high-danger shot by an open player in the slot.
Here is the schedule of semifinal matchups for the MHR Save of the Year Contest:
Tuesday, Aug. 1 MHRSOY Semifinal 1
Cy McCrink, Richmond Generals Elite vs. Ty Imbeau, Nickel City Sons U13
Thursday, Aug. 3 MHRSOY Semifinal 2
Jeremy Lowe, Jr. Flyers ’09 vs. Gray Carter, Jr. Coyotes 8U
As we have done throughout the contest, the clips for each matchup will be posted on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Voting then will take place over a 24-hour period ONLY on our Instagram story.
To access the story, simply go to the MHR Instagram page and click on the logo at the top left corner of the screen. That will take you to the story where there will be a poll that allows you to vote for your favorite play. You can view both saves or plays by clicking the actual video on the story.
The second Save of the Year semifinal matchup features Jeremy Lowe of Philadelphia Jr. Flyers ’09 taking on Gray Carter of Jr. Coyotes 8U. Lowe’s save is an acrobatic Braden Holtby-style paddle save in which he dives back across the front of the net to thwart what appears to be an easy scoring chance. He defeated Luc DiVecchio of the Maryland Jr. Black Bears in Round 1, 70-30, Mattie Krouch of N.J. Rockets 12U, 59-41, and Kade Lappan, Little Caesars ’11, 55-45.
Gray Carter’s game-saving glove stop on the buzzer has allowed the youngest player in the field to advance all the way to the semifinals. He defeated Andrew Barron of the Woodbridge Wolfpack, 56-44, in the first round, Marco Nagy of Little Flyers 15U, 52-48, in Round 2 and Teagan Brown of Belle Tire 19U, 57-53, in the quarterfinals.
And those aren’t the only goalies still alive in our contests. Aaden Wilsey from Syracuse Nationals ’08 has advanced to the semifinals as the top overall seed in the MHR Play of the Year contest.
Since he’s a goalie, you might ask why Wilsey isn’t in the Save of the Year semifinals. Well, he didn’t make a save; he scored a goal. Wilsey intercepted the puck behind his net and fired it all the way down the ice nearly 200 feet into an empty net for a rare goalie goal. For his efforts, he has zipped into the semifinals by wide voting margins over Alicia Thompson from Grand River Mustangs U18, Brody Ringstrom of Arizona Hockey Union 12U and Lana Hardin from Assabet Valley 14U.
He takes on Connor Brown of Texas Outlaws 12U on Wednesday, Aug. 2, in the first Play of the Year semifinal. On his play, Brown races to strip the puck from an opponent in the corner, weaves through the defense toward the goal and beats the goalie with a smooth deke. He knocked off Campbell Boak from Evolve Selects Mites in Round 1, 68-32, then beat Bennett McKenzie of the Eagan Wildcats, 54-46, and Cassie Hall of Little Caesar’s 19U, 52-48, to advance to the final four.
Here is the schedule of semifinal matchups for the MHR Play of the Year Contest:
Wednesday, Aug. 2 MHRPOY Semifinal 1
Aaden Wilsey, Syracuse Nationals ’08 vs. Connor Brown, Texas Outlaws 12U
Friday, Aug. 4 MHRPOY Semifinal 2
Jayden Dyke, California Bears ’09 vs. Drew Travers, Elite Development Program 14U
The second Play of the Year semifinal matchup pits Jayden Dyke of the California Golden Bears against Drew Travers from the Elite Development Program in Central Ohio.
Dyke fought through to the semifinals with a tough 54-46 victory over another California Bear ’09, Bryan Aquino Jr. Dyke’s goal is a beautiful end-to-end rush capped with an eye-popping move to get through the defense and a sneaky finish. He also knocked out the second overall seed, a “fake Michigan” goal pulled off at USA Hockey Nationals by Omaha Mastery 18U teammates Jamison Sluys and Gabe Kene, and a long-range goal by Riley Van Gieson of Maine Nordiques 16U on his road to the semis.
Travers’ goal also is a spectacular end-to-end rush in which he ends up beating the goalie as he slides on his belly after being upended while driving to the net. His goal also features a great play-by-play call from a young broadcaster. Be sure to keep the sound up on all of our Play of the Year and Save of the Year video clips.
Travers defeated Dani Beck of San Jose Jr. Sharks 14U, 64-36, Karl Warren from Rochester Coalition ’09, 54-46, and the third overall seed, a no-look, between-the-legs feed from Jack Cassidy to Andrew Marone, 54-46, to advance to the final four.
Thank you to everyone who has voted in our contests and those who submitted their plays and saves throughout the year. The finals will be decided on Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 8 and 9.