IHAAZ caps ’17-18 festival season with state tournament
Another IHAAZ season is history.
The state finals at the Barney Family Sports Complex in Queen Creek the first weekend in May ended with champions being crowned in each age division as well as skills competitions and all-star games being played in each age division.
“Overall, it was a really successful event and the addition of the all-star games was a big success,” said league tournament director Nick Boyarsky. “It was a big hit with the kids and the parents. The skills competition was a lot of fun, too.”
In the older divisions, teams competed for regular-season championships in their respective divisions and took aim at state titles. Two of the three regular-season champs won state championships.
The Jr. Wildcats won both titles in the 12U division and the Knighthawks were the runner-up at the state finals. The Jr. Wildcats went 14-1 this year.
Connor Blondel of the Jr. Wildcats was named the Most Outstanding Goalie (.901 save percentage) of the season and teammate Dominik Barber was tabbed as the Most Outstanding Offensive Player (65 points).
Prescott Storm standout Carter Robinson was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player. Barber and Blondel also won the skills competition as the top shooter and goalie, respectively. Cole Gebhart of the Yuma Blaze won the fastest skater competition.
The AZ Royals didn’t lose a game during the season and rose to the occasion at states to win gold. The Jr. Wildcats were the runner-up and the Knighthawks won bronze.
Joey Palmero of the AZ Royals was named the Top Goalie (.915 save percentage). Ranon Plett of the Jr. Wildcats was tabbed as the Best Offensive Player (54 points), and teammate Koryn Kaczynsk earned Most Outstanding Defensive Player honors.
The Prescott Storm boasted two of the skills competition winners, with Max Dunnigan winning the shooting competition and Jeremy Fleming coming out on top in the goalie competition. Kelton Chadwick of the Jr. Wildcats won fastest skater honors.
At the Midget level, the Yuma Blaze Black finished unbeaten in the regular season but fell short of a state title as the AZ Royals White won the gold medal. Yuma was the tourney runner-up and AZ Royals Blue won the bronze medal.
Yuma Blaze Black standout Logan Estes racked up 52 points during the season to earn Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year honors.
The AZ Royals Blue had two of its players take home the other individual honors. Nathan tePas fashioned an .880 save percentage to earn Outstanding Goalie honors and Ryan Haverman was named the Best Defensive Player.
Grady Sherwood of the Northern AZ Yetis was named the fastest skater in the skills competition and Skyler Sanchez of Royals Blue was the top shooter, In the goalie skills battle, tePas came out on top.
Only tournament champions were crowned in the 8U and 10U divisions. In 8U, the Knighthawks came away with the title while the Prescott Storm finished second.
Landon Jans and Rylee Hobson tied for Best Offensive Player honors. Both finished with 51 points. Jans plays for the Knighthawks and Hobson plays for the Storm.
The Outstanding Defensive Player was Kelzi Olson of Prescott and Knighthawks goalie Declan Yates was tabbed the league’s Top Netminder. He had a .810 save percentage on the season.
In the skills competition, Olson earned fastest skater honors and Mason Hillegonds of the Jr. Wildcats was the top shooter. Julian Horn of the Prescott Storm was the top goalie.
The Knighthawks Green prevailed in the 10U division. The Jr. Wildcats finished as the runner-up and the Knighthawks Blue won bronze.
Reece Curry of the Knighthawks Green won Most Outstanding Goalie honors (.809 save percentage) while teammate Brandon Gorzynski was tabbed the Offensive Player of the Year. He finished with 99 points.
Addison Nofsinger of Knighthawks Green earned Outstanding Defensive Player honors.
Luke Freeman (fastest skater), Nicholas Lopez (shooter) and Emma Pasquinelli (goalie) were the winners in the skills competition. All three play for the Yuma Blaze.
— Brian Lester
(June 4, 2018)