After scoring goals in regulation, Desmond Conley and Brandon Sakumoto scored in the shootout, and goaltender Joe Chekan ruled the skills contest, to spark the Tier II Southcentral Wolves 18-U boys team to victory Thursday in the USA Hockey Youth Nationals.
The Wolves (2-0-0) beat the Biddleford (Maine) Wave 4-3 in a pool-play shootout -- Southcentral won the shootout, 3-1, in four rounds -- to guarantee they will play in a quarterfinal Saturday regardless of how they fare in their pool-play finale Friday in Wayne, N.J.
Chekan, who made 26 saves in regulation and overtime, stopped three of four Biddleford bids in the shootout. Tyler Onstott furnished the Wolves a goal in regulation.
"We have a good group of kids,'' Wolves coach Travis Frisk said in a text message. "They really play hard for each other and everyone knows their role on the team.''
The Wolves were one of two teams among the eight Alaska boys and girls teams competing at Tier II nationals -- that's one cut below the elite Tier I level -- to go undefeated through two games.
Team Alaska's 14-U girls (2-0-0) remained unbeaten with Thursday's 1-0 win over Assabet (Mass.) in Amherst, N.Y. Avery Dunn delivered a power-play strike with less than five minutes left and Gabrielle Bagneschi stopped 28 shots to seize the shutout.
Pool play concludes Friday, with quarterfinals and semifinals across the country on Saturday, and championship games on Sunday.
Here's how other Alaska teams, and Alaskans playing on Outside teams, did at nationals on Thursday:
Boys Tier II 14-U -- Goaltender Isaiah Saville continued to shine, stopping 36 shots to backstop the Southcentral Wolves (1-1-0) to a 3-1 win over the DYHA Firebirds of Phoenix in Hackensack, N.J.
Saville has posted a .949 save percentage in two games at nationals. Sullivan Mack led the Wolves on Thursday with one goal and one assist, and Riley Sloane and John Fabeck also contributed goals.
Boys Tier II 16-U -- The Alaska All Stars (1-1-0) received 24 saves from Trevor Buckmeier, and goals from Michael Curran and Ben Trujillo, but fell 3-2 to the Nashville Junior Predators in Reston, Va.
The Southcentral Wolves (0-2-0) lost 5-1 to the Northern Virginia Ice Dogs.
Boys Tier II 18-U -- Davis Kitagawa proved a workhorse in making 44 saves, but didn't get any offensive support and the Alaska All Stars (0-2-0) lost 3-0 to the New Jersey Ice Vault Bandits in Wayne, N.J.
Kitagawa has stopped 81 of 89 shots in two games for a .910 save percentage.
Girls Tier II 16-U -- The Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association (1-1-0) lost 3-1 to the Bay State (Mass.) Breakers, despite Samantha Morse's 36 saves. Taylor Shelden scored KPHA's only goal.
Girls Tier II 19-U -- Kaitlin Miknich scored the only goal for Team Alaska (1-1-0), which came up empty on 10 power-play chances and lost 5-1 to Cape Cod (Mass.) in Amherst, N.Y.
Other Alaskans -- The Shattuck-St. Mary's (Minn.) Tier I 16-U girls team (2-0-0) that includes defenseman Clair Degeorge of Anchorage beat the Buffalo Regals 6-0 at the Tier I tournament in Malborough, Mass.
Shattuck's 19-U girls team (2-0-0) that includes forward Taylor Schwalbe of Anchorage beat the New Jersey Colonials 5-4 in Malborough.
Gage Mackie of Anchorage scored a goal for Shattuck's boys 16-U team (1-1-0), which also includes forward Payton McSharry of Anchorage, in a 4-2 loss to the Chicago Mission at the Tier I tournament in Green Bay.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
By DOYLE WOODY