Arizona Rubber

Arizona’s and New Mexico’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

Half-dozen champions crowned at Tucson IHAAZ event, pair of Queen Creek weekends approaching


The 2022 IHAAZ season rolled on over the March 11-13 weekend in Tucson for the second tournament of the season.

Six champions were crowned at the Tucson Indoor Sports Center as the Arizona Jr. Wildcats won at 8U and 10U A, the Knighthawks at 12U, Arizona Outlaws at 10U AA and 14U, and the Yuma Blaze bringing home the 18U championship.

“Overall, some really exciting and action-packed games were seen in Tucson,” said IHAAZ tournament director Nick Boyarsky. “The entry of the other Outlaws teams into the younger age group spiced things up a bit and gave us some great games in 8U and 10U AA. The new Juicers teams in 10U and 12U also showed improvement every game they played as well. In 14U, the Venom showed they were there to make some noise and in 18U, the Oops! All Berries came in hot and heavy, making a Yuma Blaze-dominated division a bit more even.”


Ben Van Houten scored all seven goals as the Jr. Wildcats defeated the Yuma Blaze Black team 7-1 to capture the championship.

Connor Martell had two assists, and Ryland Scott earned the win in goal.

For the Blaze, Talon Ducharme scored while Evelyn Stewart was strong in net.

In the round robin, Van Houten led all players with 20 goals and 21 points, Isaac Simpson from the Storm had three assists, and Scott was tops in wins (three), GAA (2.33) and save percentage (.682), while Stewart recorded two shutouts.


10U A

In the title game, Van Houten tallied five goals and two assists to lead the Jr. Wildcats Blue team over the Juicers by a 9-1 score.

Devin Peterson netted two goals, and Cooper Renda and Grayson Schlesinger added single goals to back Scott between the pipes.

Easton Hartman scored the Juicers’ lone goal and goaltender Silas Shiew played well.

Van Houten registered nine goals and 10 points in the round robin, Samantha Beutel from the Jr. Wildcats Blue team posted six assists, and Scott ran the table on goalie stats, finishing first in wins (three), GAA (0.67), save percentage (.833) and two shutouts.


10U AA

Easton Matejcek scored two goals to pace the Outlaws over the Jr. Wildcats Red team 6-2.

Aiden Grabner and Aidan Stereit each had a goal and an assist, while Keegan Sanguigni and Daxon Parham registered one goal each.

In goal, Dominic Tatone earned the win, outdueling Keoni Weir.

For the Jr. Wildcats, Henry Shoun and Brayden Waychoff scored the goals.

Grabner had four goals and six points in the round robin, the Outlaws’ Kale Pusateri collected four assists, and Tatone recorded two wins, a 1.50 GAA and a .850 save percentage to go along with a shutout from the Knighthawks’ Brayden Barnes.



The Knighthawks downed the Jr. Wildcats 9-3 to claim the title.

Brayden Hordichuk racked up three goals in the win, while Joey Lepore scored a pair, and Owen Smailys and Landon Jans went for a goal and a helper each. Liam Bump and Ayden Wise scored one apiece, and Oliver Edelstein had two assists.

Between the pipes, Lennon Mikan took the win.

For the Jr. Wildcats, Riley Peterson scored twice, Gavin Molina one, and London Simpson turned aside 22 shots in net.

In the round robin, Smailys scored nine goals with an assist, Diana Ballesteros from the Jr. Wildcats had four assists, and Mikan posted four wins, a 0.75 GAA, a .824 save percentage and a pair of shutouts.



Jack Goar scored five goals and Jackson McCuttcheon three as the Outlaws beat the Knighthawks 11-3 in the championship game.

Daniel Madia and Eli Shulman each had a goal plus a helper, and Nick Nunez also scored. Austin McPherson and Zayne Maragh had two assists apiece while Jeremy Widders turned in the victory in goal.

Lepore, Sam Koch and Jayden Perea all scored for the Knighthawks, who got a 27-save outing in goal from Maddox Marshall.

Shulman rang up eight goals and 13 points in round robin play and Widders posted three wins, a 1.00 GAA and a .874 save percentage. The Venom’s Max Brodeur tallied a pair of shutouts.



In the tightest title game of the six, the Blaze edged Oops! All Berries 6-5 in the final.

For Yuma, Justin Vandeberg scored five and assisted on Matthew Boelts’ goal. Boelts also had an assist for a multi-point game.

Jackson Gebhart took the win in goal for the Blaze.

Ethan Niles went for four goals and an assist for Oops! All Berries, while Ryan Jim had a goal and an assist and Jonah Benkel was solid in net.

Shulman’s 13 points and seven assists led all players in the round robin, Brandon Ott from the Blaze, Damian Kostadina from the Jr. Wildcats and Shulman all collected six goals each, and Gebhart contributed three wins, a 2.00 GAA, a .793 save percentage and one shutout.

In reflecting on the event, Boyarsky was thrilled and eagerly awaiting to see what’s next on the horizon.

“The 8U division was very tight with a three-way tie for second place, which is always great to see,” said Boyarsky. “The 10U A and AA split yielded some parity that was missing, which made for some great games as well. The 12U division was dominated by the Knighthawks, but there were parts of games where the other teams showed they can put the pressure on them. In 14U, the Outlaws once again asserted their dominance. However, the Knighthawks and Venom showed they will continue to give them a game. The Yuma Blaze in 18U is the hurdle all the teams will need to find a way past in order to win that division and the Oops! All Berries squad got as close as anyone has to uncronwing them.”

The next IHAAZ tournaments are scheduled for Barney Family Sports Complex in Queen Creek – 14U only on Saturday, April 16, and then all five divisions (8U, 10U, 12U, 14U, 18U) on April 22-24.

“With ice hockey wrapping up, we anticipate a sold-out event with up to 40 teams competing,” Boyarsky said. “This event and the following one in Peoria the month after will be a great warmup for what promises to be the largest IHAAZ State Finals we’ve seen in the last decade.”

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— Matt Mackinder

(March 24, 2022)

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