AHU, pair of CAHA squads skate away Tier II state champs, off to nationals
Timely goal scoring, solid goaltending and teams peaking at the right time of the year were attributes all three teams that won Arizona Amateur Hockey Association Tier II state championships earlier this month.
The Arizona Hockey Union 14U Silver team won its division, while the CAHA Scottsdale Jr. Coyotes 16U team did the same, in addition to the CAHA 18U Jr. Coyotes club out of Chandler. All three teams now move on to the USA Hockey Youth Nationals March 31-April 4 at locations across the country.
“The biggest key has been the growth of the team over the course of the entire season,” said AHU coach Jason Evahnenko. “The whole team embraced the challenge of taking responsibility for their own development, both on and off the ice, and it really showed as the year progressed. Throughout the state tournament, the team left it all on the ice each game and were blessed by the hockey gods with some outstanding results.”
The Union topped the Scottsdale Jr. Coyotes 5-1 on March 6 at the Ice Den Scottsdale and now travel to Charlotte, N.C.
The AHU 14U AA team includes forwards Chaz Castillo-Wilson, Maxwell Chase, Parker Culbert, Cayden Dement, Matthew Lang, Chandler Manbeck, R.J. Marin, Jackson McBride, Patrick Murphy, Sam Schroeder and Zechariah Yurkanin; defensemen Zachary Evahnenko, Garrett Kane, Loren Lieberg, Carsen Welch and Luke Yubeta; and goalies Matthew Diamond and Jakob Membrila. Assistant coaches are Shawn Murphy, Corey Yantzer and Jeremy Yubeta, with Trevor Wilson serving as goalie coach and Melissa Yubeta the team manager.
For Steve Sullivan’s 16U CAHA squad, staring down and beating adversity was the biggest component to winning a state title.
“These events have banded them together,” Sullivan said. “Their resiliency to never give up was the biggest reason for their success. They have a hunger to continue to get better every day.”
On March 6, the Scottsdale team beat the DYHA Jr. Sun Devils 4-1 at the Ice Den Scottsdale with the national tournament next in Wayne, N.J.
“All year, we have only worried about our own locker room and not the one down the hall,” said Sullivan. “If we play our best, hopefully the results will be in our favor when the buzzer sounds at nationals.”
The CAHA 16U AA team is comprised of forwards Bryce Avery, Dylan Berg, Chris Crowley, Mikey Pappas, Evan Shupe, Turner Stansbury and Aidyn Sullivan; defensemen Garrett Chavez, Zach Mattson, Trent Nietzel, Jimmy Shilletter and Jonathan Wieland; and goalies Cody Brewer and Cameron Judge. Sullivan is joined by assistant coach and manager Don Berg.
At the 18U AA level, Jeff Shevalier led his Chandler team to a 5-3 win over Mission Arizona on March 6 at the Ice Den Scottsdale to claim the title.
“The biggest key for us winning the state was to stay out of the penalty box – we ended up only having one penalty all game (against Mission),” said Shevalier. “With the goaltending that we have, if we score more than three goals, we will win almost every night. We have a whole team that loves to score goals, so scoring goals has never been a problem this year.
“I like that everybody on our team is happy and enjoying playing for each other. We have a very short bench, but it is amazing to watch all these young men play so hard and smart.”
Representing the CAHA 18U Chandler team is forwards Zaven Acker, Luke Dickison, Anthony Masanotti, Donovan Myers, Jordan Phillips, Benjamin Sarbacker, Preston Schoewe and Haden Shevalier; defensemen Colten Egge, Michael Emson, Justin Sorenson, Alex Watson and Austin Wilks; and goalies Nicholas Iannacone and Barrett Rosser. Arturo Arellano is the assistant coach and Katherine Sarbacker is the team manager.
Nationals are next in Amherst, N.Y.
“We have everything on this team to make a great run,” Shevalier said. “We have great goaltending and everybody on this team from the defense to the forwards can score goals.”
— Matt Mackinder