IHAAZ caps 2023 season with 10 teams capturing championships at State Finals events
The 2023 IHAAZ season culminated the weekends of May 6-7 and May 20-21 with the annual State Finals event.
This year’s tournament was again held at The Wheelhouse in Prescott Valley.
A total of 10 champions were crowned as the tournament proved to be a fantastic ending to an extremely competitive season.
“This past qualifier season, we put an emphasis on trying to create as much parity as possible in our divisions by splitting up age division skill levels where it made sense and the numbers allowed for it,” said IHAAZ tournament director Nick Boyarsky. “By the time State Finals came around, we had a clear picture of the upper and lower divisional play, which allowed us to create very competitive round robin divisions and matchups, as teams battled out for a state championship in their age and skill level. This all led to some truly amazing games and hard-fought championships.”
In a back-and-forth game, the TPH Knighthawks came away with a 10-9 win over the Arizona Roughriders.
Cole Maschner scored six goals in the win, while Troy Walter had a goal and an assist and London Norgaard, Jarrett Barnes, and Owen Hardison added one each.
Skai Thomas took the win in goal making eight saves.
For the Roughriders, Micah Hilton netted seven goals and Davis Bond and Sydney Sitron scored one goal apiece.
In goal, Oliver Hansen finished with 15 saves.
Kasen Pusateri scored six goals with an assist as the Arizona Outlaws Maroon took the title with a 10-2 victory over Yuma Blaze Black.
Peyton Starrh and Kellen Pusateri each tallied two goals and an assist, and Theo Brooks turned aside seven shots in the Outlaws net.
On the Blaze side, Talon Ducharme and Maverick Wegener each scored, and Colton Murphy stopped four shots in goal.
Kerby Wofford was the overtime hero, scoring the winning goal to lead the Yuma Blaze Black team 4-3 over the Roughriders.
Jackson Kline scored three goals for the Blaze and Evelyn Stewart made 22 saves in net for the win.
Juliette Bond posted all three goals for the Roughriders, with Conner Gallegos making 24 saves between the pipes.
Ben Van Houten went for four goals and an assist and Connor Hillegonds added three goals and four assists to lead the Jr. Wildcats to a 9-1 championship win over the Outlaws.
Mason Hillegonds chipped in a goal and two assists and Gia Alvarez also scored to back Ryland Scott’s eight saves in goal.
Kasen Pusateri scored the lone goal for the Outlaws and Brooks made 11 saves.
The Roughriders defeated the Knighthawks 3-1 as Rowan Nebeker, Ryan Hovlid, and Summer McBee all scored goals.
Mason Hilton collected 14 saves in net for the victory.
For the Knighthawks, Devin Peterson scored the only goal and Jack Bauer made 19 stops in goal.
Van Houten registered two goals as the Jr. Wildcats Gold won the division with a 3-2 win over the Outlaws Black.
Sam McCloud scored the other goal and Keoni Weir kicked out 11 shots for the win between the pipes.
Robbie Anderson and Evan Tzeng scored for the Outlaws and Gavin Larose finished with 10 saves.
The Arizona Imperials used a three-goal, three-assist game from AJ Brandt to down the Jr. Wildcats 9-2 to claim the championship.
Dean Mindeman added two goals and three assists, Moses Brown chipped in three goals and an assist, Oliver Edelstein scored, and Trevin Vargo posted a pair of assists.
Reagan Rivera made 14 stops in goal to gain the victory.
For the Jr. Wildcats, Edward Szadkowski had a goal and an assist and Nolan Wilde also scored.
Goaltender Antonio Bras-Taylor was sharp in stopping 30 shots.
In a close contest, the TPH Knighthawks Green brought home the championship with a 5-4 victory over Black Magic.
Joey Lepore netted a trio of goals, Brayden Willis went for two goals and an assist, and Sam Koch and Jaden Perea each tacked on two assists.
Between the pipes, Maddox Marshal finished with 25 saves.
Alex Smith recorded a goal and three assists for the Magic, while Braden Hordichuk, Dylan Mickelson, and Ashton Sherstobitoff added goals. Kelzi Olson added two assists and Dylan Hanson made 20 saves in net.
Another tight championship game saw Austin McPherson tally three goals as the Cereal Killers knocked off the Lucky Charms by a 4-3 count.
Brady Ishu added a goal and an assist and Landon Jans chipped in three helpers.
Connor Blondel made 17 saves in goal.
For the Lucky Charms, Chase Kaplan posted two goals, Justin Kaplan went for a goal and an assist, and Madden Hognauer added two assists.
In goal, Tate Mickey turned aside 20 shots.
18U AA – pictured top
Brandon Ott fashioned a two-goal, one-assist game as the Blaze beat the Peoria Desert Scorpions 5-1.
Austin Estes, Nicholas Lopez, and Luke Freeman also scored, and Jackson Gebhart stopped 11 shots between the pipes.
Ty Wilson scored the Scorpions’ lone goal, and Aiden Biswanger made 19 stops in net.
In addition to the games, several players took home awards as part of the Behind The Mask Skills Challenge events during both weekends of State Finals.
Top Goalie: Colton Murphy, Yuma Blaze Black
Sniper: Talon Ducharme, Yuma Blaze Black
Fastest Skater: Drake Madia, Outlaws Black
Top Goalie: Ryland Scott, Jr. Wildcats
Sniper: Max Kramer, Knighthawks
Fastest Skater: Austin Smith, Knighthawks
Top Goalie: Gavin Larose, Outlaws Black
Sniper: Everett Smith, Outlaws Black
Fastest Skater: Sam McCloud, Jr. Wildcats Gold
Top Goalie: Antonio Bras-Taylor, Outlaws
Sniper: Robby Skelly, Jr. Wildcats
Fastest Skater: Nolan Wilde, Jr. Wildcats
Top Goalie: Gavin Lopo, Roughriders
Sniper: Gavin Nebeker, Roughriders
Fastest Skater: Drew Jazwin, Lucky Charms
Top Goalie: Keegan Tinsdale, Outlaws
Sniper: Nick Nunez, Outlaws
Fastest Skater: Daniel Madia, Outlaws
All-Star Games were also held within all divisions each weekend.
“The makeup and landscape of Arizona roller always changes slightly from year to year,” Boyarsky said. “Going into every new season, we look at what worked and what didn’t from the past season and how the next season numbers and divisions may bounce out to put together a better experience for all our current and new teams that may be playing.
“We’ve got some truly exciting changes in the works. More to come on that as we approach the 2024 season.”
For more information, visit IHAAZ.com.
— Matt Mackinder
(June 13, 2023)