Two Alaska boys teams playing in the Tier II 14-and-under USA Hockey National Championships in Coral Springs, Florida, won their opening-round, pool-play games Thursday, when Alaska teams around the country went 3-6 in openers at season-ending tournaments.
The Anchorage North Stars cruised to a 7-1 victory over the Woodstock Junior Wasps of Vermont and the Fairbanks-based Alaska Grizzlies beat the Maine Moose 5-4 in overtime.
Mark Padgett scored a goal and added three assists for the North Stars, who also received two goals each from Colin Goff and Dylan Evans. Tucker Lien furnished three assists, Kaden Daniels chipped in one goal and one helper, and Garrett Miknich and Jack Dolan each recorded two assists.
The Grizzlies used Jaren Beckley's goal 31 seconds into extra time to start off the tournament on a strong note. Alex Kulanovsky and William Renfrew assisted on the game-winning goal, and Kulvanovsky added a hat trick. Renfrew finished with 1-2–3 totals, and Jacob House and Colin Hedland each contributed two assists.
The other Alaska team to win Thursday was the Arctic Lions, which generated a 2-1 shootout win over the Utah Golden Eagles at the Tier II boys 16-U's in Plano, Texas. Details of the Lions' victory were not available online from USA Hockey.
Tier I is the highest level of American youth hockey and Tier II sits below that. National tournaments extend through Monday, when championship games are scheduled.
Here's how other Alaska teams fared Thursday:
Tier I boys 14-U — The Alaska Oilers dropped their opener 9-0 to the Oakland Junior Grizzlies of Michigan in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Tier I boys 15's — The Alaska Oilers fell 3-2 to the Oakland Junior Grizzlies in Scottsdale. Jacob Easley and Cameron McDonald scored Alaska's goals, and Teddy Stevens made 13 saves.
Tier II boys 16-U — The Alaska Oilers lost 8-0 to the Scottsdale Junior Coyotes of Arizona in Plano, Texas.
Tier II boys 18-U — Cody Grogan gave the Alaska Wolves excellent goaltending with 45 saves, but the Wolves fell 3-1 to the DYHA Junior Sun Devils of Arizona in Lansing, Michigan. Levi Hensley scored the Wolves' only goal and Ray Harren furnished the assist in a game that featured a combined 81 shots on goal in 51 minutes played. The Junior Sun Devils outshot the Wolves 45-36.
Tier II girls 14-U — The Alaska Pioneers lost 4-1 to the Shoreline Sharks of Connecticut in Troy, Michigan. Rachel Symmes stopped 32 shots for the Wolves, who received a goal from Bailey Brunnhoelzl. Briana Paxson assisted on the goal.
Tier II girls 16-U — Gabrielle Gibson stopped 28 shots but didn't get any goal support as the Anchorage North Stars lost 1-0 to the Vermont Shamrocks in Troy.