IHAAZ 14U AA-only Queen Creek event sees Voodoo take championship in one-goal win over Outlaws
The 2022 IHAAZ season continued last weekend in Queen Creek with a 14U AA event at the Barney Family Sports Complex.
In the April 16 championship game, the Voodoo toppled the AZ Outlaws by a tight 4-3 score.
The event was the result of an upward trend in the roller hockey game, a positive sign of what is to come on the floor.
IHAAZ has seen exponential growth in the past 3-4 seasons and that has culminated this season in 10 teams playing in both the 14U and 18U divisions alone. Those larger divisions have pushed IHAAZ to spread the later-season events into multiple weekends. This two-weekend split began with last weekend’s event, an eight-team 14U AA division. The 14U A division and all other age groups and divisions will play this weekend.
“Players from almost every ice hockey program in the state made up a handful of new teams at this event,” said IHAAZ tournament director Nick Boyarsky. “With these new teams coming into the series just in time to qualify for our State Finals, we saw some of the best hockey (ice and roller) talent in the state play against each other in some extremely exciting games. The level of competition was like nothing we’ve seen play in Arizona in a long time.”
To get to the championship game, the Outlaws defeated the Lucky Charms 7-3 and the Voodoo knocked off the Venom 9-4 in a pair of semifinal contests.
Ethan Bryant scored three goals and Brandon Gorzynski added one to pace the Voodoo offense in the title game. In goal, Conner MacKenzie stopped 17 shots to gain the win.
For the Outlaws, Jackson McCutcheon had a goal and an assist and EJ Green and Jack Goar scored one goal each as Jeremy Widders made eight saves between the pipes.
During the round robin, which also included the Cap’n Crunch, Legion Light, Legion Dark, and Knighthawks teams, Gorzynski led all scorers with 16 points on 10 goals and six assists. MacKenzie picked up three wins with a 2.67 goals-against average and a .833 save percentage. Max Brodeur from the Venom earned the lone shutout of the round robin.
In the playoff round (semifinals, finals), Gorzynski again led all scorers with five goals and eight points and MacKenzie was the top netminder with two wins, a 3.50 GAA and a .774 save percentage.
The next IHAAZ tournament is scheduled back at the Barney Family Sports Complex in Queen Creek with all five divisions (8U, 10U, 12U, 14U, 18U) this weekend, April 22-24.
“We have one more jam-packed event in Queen Creek this weekend,” Boyarsky said. “Beyond our already solidified 8U, 10U, and 12U divisions, we’ll be seeing a handful of new teams in 18U that should prove to be on par with what we saw in 14U AA this past weekend.
“Overall, both of these divisions’ large numbers and high skill level is the outcome of roller hockey having hugely grown in popularity within the ice hockey community over the past half-decade.”
For more information, visit IHAAZ.com.
— Matt Mackinder
(April 22, 2022)