The Anchorage North Stars 16-U girls on Monday will play for a USA Hockey Tier II national championship in Troy, Michigan, after racking two wins Sunday in playoff elimination games.
Amber Steinhilpert scored off assists from Allison Green and Jillian Ketchum with less than two minutes left in regulation to earn the North Stars a 2-1 semifinal victory over the Potsdam Icestorm of New York. Kiana Trupp furnished the other North Stars goal and McKinley Hoff delivered 26 saves. Anchorage killed all seven Potsdam power plays in improving to 3-1-1 in the tournament.
Earlier Sunday, the North Stars used two goals and a helper from Steinhilpert to bag a 5-2 quarterfinal victory over the Nova Ice Dogs of Virginia. Green, Ketchum and Alyssa Monrean also generated goals, Ketchum added an assist and Gabrielle Gibson stopped 14 shots.
The North Stars on Monday morning will play the Vermont Shamrocks for the championship. Vermont beat the North Stars 1-0 Thursday on the opening day of pool play.
Alaska teams have won six youth national championships, three in Tier I, the highest level of American youth hockey, and three in Tier II.
At the boys Tier II 14-U tournament in Coral Springs, Florida, the Alaska Grizzlies of Fairbanks lost 3-2 to the New Hampshire Avalanche in the 2A semifinal. William Renfrew and Evan Fritze scored for the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies earlier Sunday beat the Anchorage North Stars 5-1 in the quarterfinals. Renfrew scored two goals and assisted on another, Silas Hughes scored one goal and assisted on three others, and Jaren Beckley and Alexander Kulmanovsky each contributed one goal and one assist. Kaden Daniels scored the only goal for the North Stars (2-1-1).
The other Alaska team to reach the playoff round, the Tier II boys 16-U Arctic Lions of Fairbanks (2-2-0) , was eliminated with a 9-0 loss to the Atlanta Fire in Plano, Texas.
A few Alaska players who compete for teams Outside will also play for championships on Monday.
Clair DeGeorge and Avery Dunn of Anchorage, who play for Shattuck-St. Mary's of Minnesota, will compete for a Tier I 19-U title against the Chicago Mission in Rochester, Michigan. The Sabres (3-0-1) beat the Mid Fairfield Stars of Connecticut 1-0 in a semifinal Sunday.
Wasilla's Mikayla Lantto figured in all the scoring for the Tier I 16-U girls from Belle Tire of Detroit in Sunday's 3-1 semifinal victory over the East Coast Wizards of Massachusetts in Detroit. Lantto assisted on Belle's first goal, then notched two power-play strikes. Belle Tire will play the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite for the championship Monday.
That Pittsburgh Penguins Elite team advanced to the final with a 1-0 victory over the Shattuck-St. Mary's team that includes Tate Senden of Palmer and Kylie Watts of Chugiak.