The three girls Tier II teams from Alaska all won pool-play openers with ease Wednesday at USA Hockey's Youth Nationals, immediately strengthening their chances of qualifying for playoff rounds that begin Saturday.
Meanwhile, two of the five boys teams from Alaska, all likewise competing in Tier II, one notch below the elite Tier I level, won their openers.
At nationals, age-group tournaments generally begin with 12 teams in pool play, and eight of those advance to quarterfinal elimination games.
Team Alaska's girls entry in the 19-U tournament in Amherst, N.Y., used a four-goal third period to post a 6-1 victory over Colorado Springs (Colo.). The Alaskans converted three of their six power-play opportunities, and their four-goal barrage in the final period came courtesy of two goals from Meghan Kraus and one each from Kaitlin Miknich and Taral Clayton. Megan Hunt made 13 saves to earn the win.
Here's how the other Alaska teams fared Wednesday, and how some Outside teams that include Alaskans did:
Girls Tier II 16-U -- Elizabeth Cho scored two goals, and Anna Shelden and Whitney Wortham each scored one to spearhead the Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association to a 4-0 victory over the Colorado Selects in Amherst.
Amber McDonald made six saves for Kenai.
Girls Tier II 14-U -- Team Alaska received multiple-point games from four players and nine saves from Gabrielle Bagneschi to earn a 5-1 win over Rocky Mountain in Amherst.
Jaden Trboyevich scored two goals and added two assists, Avery Dunn furnished four helpers, Isabel Hughes added one goal and two assists, and Jayla Oja had one goal and one assist.
Boys Tier II 18-U -- The Southcentral Wolves, led by John Roth's two goals and Brandon Brown's 39 saves, generated a 5-1 win over the Rhode Island Hitmen in Wayne, N.J.
Adam Apangalook and Nikolas Stumbaugh each contributed one goal and one assist, Brandon Sakumoto had two helpers and Paul Norris chipped in a goal.
The Alaska All Stars lost 5-2 to the Howard (Md.) Huskies, getting goals from Mason Rafter and Alex Thompson, and 37 saves from Davis Kitagawa.
Boys Tier II 16-U -- Jonathan Banovetz racked a hat trick, Cody Dearing engineered one goal and four assists, and Ben Trujillo had one goal and three helpers as goaltender D. J. Paxson made some big early saves and the Alaska All Stars earned a 8-2 win over the Nashua (N.H.) Panthers in Reston, Va.
The Southcentral Wolves fell 3-1 to the Portland (Ore.) Junior Hawks. Griffin Logan made 26 saves for the Wolves and Alex Bardsley scored their goal.
Boys Tier II 14-U -- Isaiah Saville was sharp in making 39 saves, but the Southcentral Wolves lost 3-0 to the Seacoast Spartans (N.H.) in Hackensack, N.J.
Other Alaskans -- Three teams from Shattuck-St. Mary's (Minn.) that include Alaskans all won their openers in Tier I tournaments.
Forward Gage Mackie of Anchorage had an assist and forward Payton McSharray of Anchorage also played for Shattuck's 16-U boys in a 10-7 victory over the Long Island (N.Y.) Gulls in Green Bay, Wis.
Defenseman Clair Degeorge of Anchorage furnished an assist for Shattuck's 16-U girls in a 9-0 victory over the New Hampshire Avalanche in Malborough, Mass.
And the Shattuck girls team that includes forward Taylor Schwalbe of Anchorage beat Team Wisconsin 5-1 at the 19-U tournament in Malborough.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
By DOYLE WOODY