Knighthawks nab trio of division championships at Queen Creek IHAAZ tournament
More high-powered IHAAZ action continued over the April 22-24 weekend in Queen Creek for the fourth tournament of the 2022 season.
Seven champions were crowned at the Barney Family Sports Complex as the Arizona Jr. Wildcats won at 8U, the Knighthawks at 10U A, 12U and 14U, Arizona Jr. Wildcats Red at 10U AA, the Thunder at 18U A, and the Yuma Blaze bringing home the 18U AA championship.
“In the younger age groups, we’re starting to see some really exciting games amongst the middle-of-the-pack teams when they compete against one another,” IHAAZ tournament director Nick Boyarsky said. “They’ve been getting better and better throughout the season. The 18U division really opened up this tournament with four new teams jumping in to get their State Finals qualification events in. This division is hands down the most competitive and high-level play IHAAZ has seen in over a decade. With 10 teams battling in 18U, State Finals will be extremely exciting.”
The Jr. Wildcats downed the Outlaws 9-1 as Connor Hillegonds went for five goals and an assist and Ben Van Houten added four goals plus a helper to back Ryland Scott’s performance in goal.
Kallen Sanguigni netted the lone goals for the Outlaws, while Anthony Cunningham stayed busy between the pipes.
During the round robin, Van Houten led the way with six goals and 13 points and Hillegonds popped 12 goals. In goal, Scott picked up three wins (two shutouts) with a 0.33 goals-against average. Evelyn Stewart from the Yuma Blaze Black team led all goalies with a .758 save percentage.
Carter Hardison tallied four goals and two assists to lead the Knighthawks past the Juicers by a 10-2 count in the 10U A title game
Benjamin Kesselman scored twice, while Eric Gauthier had a goal and an assist and Dexter Lyman, Austin Smith and Michael Uster netted one apiece as Knighthawks’ goalie Maddox Cunningham collected the win.
Cayden Bell and Jackson Weightman scored for the Juicers and Silas Shiew had a good showing in goal.
In the 10U AA championship contest, the Jr. Wildcats Red team edged the Jr. Wildcats Blue team 8-7 as Henry Shoun won it in overtime.
Shoun added two more goals plus an assist, while Hillegonds recorded four goals and Gia Alvarez contributed a goal and two assists. Ryan Beutel chipped in two helpers of his own as Keoni Weir took the win between the pipes.
For the Jr. Wildcats Blue squad, Van Houten scored five goals and Cooper Renda and Samantha Neutel added goals. Mason Hillegonds had two assists and Scott played well in goal.
In 10U round robin play, Van Houten had nine goals and 11 points, and Hardison tacked on four assists. Scott posted an 0.50 GAA and a .833 save percentage while Weir and Scott each had two wins and a shutout, to go along with a shutout from Cunningham.
Brayden Hordichuk scored four goals to lead the Knighthawks over the Jr. Wildcats 8-0 to capture the 12U title.
Joey Lepore had two goals and an assist and Ethan Uster added two goals of his own. Brooklyn Waterhouse chipped in with two assists and Lennon Mikan earned the shutout in the Knighthawks’ net.
London Simpson was sharp in the Jr. Wildcats’ goal.
During the round robin, Hordichuk had nine goals, the Jr. Wildcats’ Gavin Molina five assists, and Lepore collected 13 points. Mikan and Simpson each went for three wins and a shutout, the Outlaws’ Jordan Fraser also had a blank sheet, and Mikan added a 0.67 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
14U – pictured top
The Knighthawks knocked off the Voodoo 7-2 to claim the 14U championship.
Jayden Perea had two goals and an assist, Hordichuk added a pair of goals, and Lepore and Oliver Edelstein each collected a goal and an assist. Liam Bump also scored, and Ayden Wise put up two assists as Mikan earned the victory in goal.
Molina and Kyler Tinsdale each posted a goal and an assist for the Voodoo. Gavin La Rose was solid between the pipes.
Hordichuk registered eight goals and 12 points in the round robin, while Wise, Hordichuk and Perea each tacked on four assists apiece. Mikan had three wins, a 1.67 GAA and a .839 save percentage with the lone shutout.
The Thunder toppled the Outlaws 9-1 to secure the title at the 18U A division.
Caden Wells popped three goals with an assist, while Dylan Leahy and Chris Graves punched in two goals each and Alex Payie added a goal and two helpers. John Baird also scored, and Chester Priem was on his ‘A’ game in the Thunder net.
Austin McPherson scored the Outlaws’ goal and Jeremy Widders was strong in goal.
In the round robin, the Outlaws’ EJ Green scored 11 goals as part of his 13 points, and Wells posted a half-dozen assists. Priem won four games (one a shutout) and had a 2.00 GAA, while the Yetis’ Dallin McShane put up a .800 save percentage.
Austin Estes’ second goal of the game gave Yuma a 4-3 win over the Desert Scorpions as the Blaze scored four unanswered goals, including the game-tying goal at the buzzer to end the second period.
Brandon Ott scored once with a helper and Matthew Boelts also added a goal as Jackson Gebhart took the win in goal.
For the Scorpions, Sheldon Wilson, Eli Shulman and Trace Day scored with Aiden Biswanger playing stellar in the cage.
During the round robin, the Scorpions’ Kade Pereja netted eight goals and 13 points, while his five assists tied with Estes. Gebhart collected four wins, a 2.00 GAA and a .837 save percentage and his one shutout was equaled by the AZ Chilis’ Lincoln Miele.
“With one tournament left before the 2022 State Finals, teams will have one last chance to figure each other out and game plan for what promises to be one of the most competitive State Finals we’ve seen in some of these age groups,” Boyarsky said.
The next IHAAZ tournament is scheduled for the Peoria Sportsplex, with 8U, 10U and 12U teams competing this weekend, May 7-8.
For more information, visit IHAAZ.com.
— Matt Mackinder
(May 5, 2022)