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Alaska sends two boys hockey teams to Tier II national championship games

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: 5 days ago
  • Published 5 days ago

A pair of Alaska boys hockey teams will play for Tier II national championships on Monday.

Both teams will face off against teams from North Carolina. The Alaska Oilers U18 team will meet the Rogue Warriors in a morning game in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and the Alaska All Stars U14 team will take on the Carolina Junior Hurricanes in a morning game in Dallas.

The Oilers advanced with a 3-0 semifinal victory Sunday over the Maine Moose. Garret Miknich scored two goals, Marc Abrego had a goal and an assist and Hunter Katness had a 16-save shutout to lead the Alaskans.

The Oilers were 2-1 coming into Sunday’s knockout round. Monday’s championship game will be their fifth in five days.

The All Stars earned their spot in the U14 title game with a wild 6-5 semifinal win Sunday over the Tri-City Junior Americans of Washington.

Ryder Millar scored the game-winning goal for the Alaskans with just under four minutes left to finish the game with a hat trick.

The All-Stars trailed 3-1 in the second period before reeling off three straight goals -- one each from Hunter Heisten, Hayden Zernia and Millar -- to take a 4-3 lead. Tri-City answered before the end of the period to make it 4-4 going into the third period.

The teams traded goals to make it 5-5 -- Britton Bethard scored for the All Stars in the exchange -- and the game remained deadlocked for 10 minutes until Millar provided the game-winner at 15:59.

The All Stars finished 1-2 in pool play to advance to Sunday’s single-elimination round and then beat Team South Dakota 6-2 Sunday morning to move into the semifinal game against Tri-City.

In the Tier II girls tournament in Denver, all three Alaska teams that advanced to Sunday’s knockout round were eliminated.

The Alaska All Stars U19 team, undefeated in three pool-play games, lost 3-1 to Minnesota Prep Black, which advanced to the semifinals with the victory.

Darci Matson scored the only goal for the Alaskans, an even-strength strike that tied the game 1-1 in the third period. The game remained deadlocked for about five minutes before Minnesota seized the lead by scoring twice in a 71-second span late in the game.

Earlier in the day, a pair of North Stars teams were eliminated.

The U16 team lost 4-2 to Team South Dakota, and the U14 team lost 4-2 to Detroit Honeybaked. Both teams advanced to the knockout round by posting 1-2 records in pool play.

In all, eight Alaska teams earned spots in various USA Hockey youth tournaments. Three were eliminated earlier in the week, including the Team Alaska U15 boys squad, the only Tier I team from Alaska to qualify for a national tournament this season.