Tucson provides solid backdrop for latest IHAAZ festival
For the third year in a row, the Tucson Indoor Sports Center opened its doors for 27 enthusiastic Inline Hockey Association of Arizona (IHAAZ) teams that were going to put their best games on the floor.
And for just the third time in the IHAAZ’s 18-year history, the league saw a California team, the San Diego Selects, participate in an Arizona festival.
The Jr. Wildcats, the local in-house inline program, entered an up-and-coming collection of aspiring recreational 8U aged youngsters into the festival for their first taste of big-time tournament play.
The festival, which took place over St. Patrick’s Day Weekend, was a win-win for the locals, the in-staters and the out-of-staters.
In the 8U division, the Prescott Storm won all four of its games to claim the championship. Charlie D’Antonio, who scored four goals in one game during the tourney, was named the MVP. D’Antonio finished with six goals in all over the weekend.
The outstanding playmaker was Hunter Matthews, who finished with seven goals and two assists, and the outstanding offensive player was Nicholas Lopez, who racked up a division-best 12 goals in the tournament.
Dylan Foster of the Knighthawks earned outstanding goalie honors as he racked up 47 saves.
The Knighthawks secured the 10U championship, winning all four of its games. Faith Debabneh of the Knighthawks won MVP honors, finishing with five goals and an assist, and Kirsten Kaczynksi of the Jr. Wildcats was tabbed outstanding playmaker. Kaczynski tallied two goals and two assist. Zayne Maragh of the Yuma Blaze was named the outstanding offensive player, racking up five goals and an assist.
Eli Shulman scored the most goals in the tourney, tallying 17, and Avery MacKenzie was named outstanding goalie, making 48 saves.
The Yuma Blaze went 4-0 in the tourney to take home the 12U title. Jackson Gebhart of the Blaze was the MVP and teammate Brandon Ott was the outstanding playmaker. Ott scored four goals and dished out three assists.
Dominik Barber of the Jr. Wildcats was the top offensive player, punching in 10 goals to go along with two assists, and Tyler Offenbacker of the Jr. Wildcats tallied 39 saves to win outstanding goalie honors.
The San Diego squad soared to a victory in the 14U A division, fashioning a 3-0 record. Jake Dempsey of the Selects earned MVP honors, tallying 10 goals and four assists, and Zac Miszkeiwicz (one goal, five assists) of the Selects was the outstanding playmaker. Chris Vo of the Royals was tabbed the outstanding offensive player, finishing with five goals and an assist.
Seth Miszkeiwicz (12 saves) of the Selects, Dylan Sharkey (37 saves) of the AZ Royals and Tatum Proud (52 saves) of the Knighthawks all earned outstanding goalie honors.
The Havasu Dust Devils were the champions of the 14U B division, going 1-0-1. Clayton Garnier and Brenden Rizzo helped lead the way. Garnier was named the MVP, tallying seven goals and three assists, and Rizzo tallied 65 saves and shared outstanding goalie honors with Lucan Mertes (37 saves) of the Jr. Wildcats (82) and Jeremy Fleming (82 saves) of the Storm.
Dominic Calia of the Storm was named the outstanding playmaker, scoring six goals, and Ranon Plett of the Jr. Wildcats was named the outstanding offensive player after racking up eight goals and two assists.
The AZ Royals Blue won the Midget division championship, finishing 3-0-1.
Tanner Castleberry led the way for the Royals and was named the MVP. He had three goals and two assists. Teammate Garrett Ruby was named the outstanding goalie after making 66 saves.
Miguel Cazares of the Blaze earned outstanding playmaker honors, finishing with two goals and two assists, and Keegan Lamb of the Storm was named the outstanding offensive player. Lamb scored 10 goals and also dished out an assist.
— Brian Lester