Four Tier II Alaska teams advance to playoffs in USA Hockey Youth Nationals

Doyle Woody

Four of the eight Alaska teams competing in Tier II age-group tournaments at the USA Hockey Youth Nationals advanced out of pool play Friday to playoff games Saturday.

Two of those teams, the Southcentral Wolves 18-U boys and Team Alaska's 14-U girls, won their pool-play finales Friday to remain undefeated in three preliminary games and qualify for quarterfinal games Saturday.

The other Alaska teams that advanced are the Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association's 16-U girls team (2-1-0) and Team Alaska's 19-U girls team (2-1-0).

At nationals, both quarterfinals and semifinals are played Saturday and championship games are Sunday.

Four other Alaska teams wrapped pool-play Friday and were eliminated.

The Wolves 18-U gave up two late goals to the Hockey Club of Dallas, but had the game in hand by then and earned a 4-2 win in Wayne, N.J.

Joe Chekan stopped 18 shots for the Wolves. Paul Norris scored one goal and set up another, and Adam Apangalook, Brandon Sakumoto and Chris Hayes furnished goals. Sakumoto leads the team in tournament scoring with 2-3--5 totals in three games.

Team Alaska's 14-U girls racked their second straight shutout behind goaltender Gabrielle Bagneschi (16 saves) with a 2-0 win over the Sabres (Ill.) in Amherst, N.Y.

Bagneschi in three games owns a goals-against average of 0.33 -- Team Alaska has outscored its opponents 8-1 -- and a save percentage of .981, with two shutouts. Mikayla Lantto and A.M. Roberts delivered goals Friday for Team Alaska.

The Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association's 16-U girls used 16 saves from Amber McDonald, and goals from Elizabeth Cho, Lauren Caldwell and Anna Wrobel, to earn a 3-1 win Friday over Amherst (N.Y.) in Amherst. Cho leads the team in tournament scoring with three goals in three games.

Team Alaska's 19-U girls received a game-winning, short-handed strike from Zahn Thompson with less than six minutes left Friday to pocket a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Stars in Amherst.

Thompson scored two goals and added an assist, Lindsey Wright and Madisan Millar scored goals, and Meghan Kraus furnished two assists. Thompson and Kraus are tied for the team lead in tournament scoring with 2-2--4 totals in three games.

Also Friday, two Tier I girls teams from Shattuck-St. Mary's (Minn.) that include Alaskans advanced to the quarterfinals with 3-0-0 records. The 16-U team that includes Clair Degeorge of Anchorage beat the New Jersey Colonials 5-3 in Malborough, Mass., where Shattuck's 19-U girls team that includes Taylor Schwalbe of Anchorage beat the Buffalo Bison, 3-1. Schwalbe contributed an assist.

The Shattuck Tier I 16-U boys team (1-2-0) that includes forwards Gage Mackie and Payton McSharry was eliminated in losing 3-1 to the Chicago Young Americans on Friday in Green Bay, Wis. McSharry contributed an assist in the game.

Here's how the Alaska teams eliminated fared in their season finales Friday:

Boys Tier II 18-U -- The Alaska All Stars (0-3-0) lost 6-1 to the Union Knights of Arizona in a penalty-filled game in Wayne, N.J. Chance Aquino provided Alaska's power-play goal, which came on one of its 14 chances with the man advantage. The teams combined for 100 penalty minutes and 24 power plays.

Boys Tier II 16-U -- The Alaska All Stars (1-2-0) fell 7-2 to the Red Bank (N.J.) Generals in Reston, Va.

Michael Curran and Noah Ashley scored goals for the All Stars, and Tyler Breitenstein assisted on both goals.

Also, the Southcentral Wolves (0-3-0) lost 5-3 to the Union Knights of Arizona. Trevor Dunn, Hunter Haefer and Lachlan Cockrell scored for the Wolves.

Boys Tier II 14-U -- The Southcentral Wolves (1-2-0) received another money performance from goaltender Isaiah Saville in a 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Phoenix in Hackensack, N.J.

Saville stopped 46 shots and in three games made 121 saves on 128 shots for a .945 save percentage. Emma Wuthrich and Maximilion Helgeson scored Southcentral's goals.

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