Arizona Rubber

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

Pair of April IHAAZ events prepping teams for upcoming State Finals


As was the case in March, with a multitude of teams looking to compete in the 2023 IHAAZ season, the association split its April tournaments into two weekend combo events.

First, the season rolled on over the April 14-16 weekend in Queen Creek at the Barney Family Sports Complex for the fifth tournament of the season and then April 21-23 in Peoria at the Peoria Sportsplex for tournament No. 6.

“With all the teams in the series finally able to play at the same time, we got to see some exciting matchups, which livens things up,” said IHAAZ tournament director Nick Boyarsky. “We also got to welcoming some new teams and many new players to roller hockey, which is always great to see. Teams like the Imperials in 14U, the Bananas in 12U, and Lucky Charms in 18U gave us a bunch of new-to-roller faces.

“It’s always great to see the progress from their first game for the last of the tournament when they come in because the skating and control of the puck improve so vastly.”

Five champions were crowned at the Barney Family Sports Complex as the Arizona Jr. Wildcats won at 10U, AZ Outlaws Black at 12U Gold, Jr. Wildcats Silver at 12U Silver, TPH Knighthawks Green at 14U Gold and the Arizona Roughriders at 14U Silver.


The Jr. Wildcats knocked off the TPH Knighthawks 5-1 in the title game as Connor Hillegonds had three goals and Ben Van Houten netted the other two.

Ryland Scott finished with 14 saves in goal for the victory.

For the Knighthawks, Max Kramer scored and Owen Lukas turned aside 16 shots between the pipes.

During the round robin, Hillegonds led the way with 10 goals, while Carter Hardison of the Knighthawks had seven assists and 12 points. In net, Scott and Lukas each had three wins, and Lukas compiled an 0.67 GAA, a .867 save percentage and two shutouts.

12U Gold

The Outlaws ran away with the championship, downing the Jr. Wildcats Gold 9-1.

Marcus Hancock scored four goals, Shae Maunula had a goal and two assists, Robbie Anderson two goals, and Gavin Chytka and Jayden Maragh scored one each to back Gavin LaRose‘s 11 saves in goal.

Gavin Molina scored the lone goal for the Jr. Wildcats and Keoni Weir played well in goal.

In round robin play, Maunula and the Roughriders’ Alec Bond each tallied six goals and seven points and Hancock registered four assists. Between the pipes, LaRose posted three wins, an 0.67 GAA, .926 save percentage and tied with Weir with one shutout apiece.

12U Silver

In a low-scoring game, the Jr. Wildcats defeated the Knighthawks 2-1 on goals from Hillegonds and Brayden Waychoff.

Scott finished with 12 stops in net for the win.

Nick Sowinski scored the only Knighthawks goal and Jack Bauer was solid in goal.

Leaders from round robin action were Natalie Yipp from the Blaze and the Bananas’ Dylan Young with six goals each, Carter Hardison and James Hardison from the Bananas with five helpers apiece, and Carter Hardison with 10 points.

Goalie-wise, Brayden Barnes from the Bananas collected three wins and Bauer had a 1.00 GAA, a .889 save percentage and one shutout.

14U Gold

A total of 15 goals were scored in the final game, with the Knighthawks Green edging the Knighthawks Blue team 8-7.

For the victors, Brayden Willis went for two goals and four assists, Lucus Ishu added two goals, Joey Lepore and Landon Jans each had a goal and an assist, and Ethan Uster and Sam Koch scored one each.

In goal, Maddox Marshal took the win.

For the Knighthawks Blue, Ryder Cameron tallied two goals and two assists, Owen Smailys chipped in three goals, JR Zaino posted a goal and a helper, and Eli Simpson also scored. Lennon Mikkan fared well between the pipes.

During the round robin, Willis had 14 goals and 20 points and Jans, Cameron and Koch all recorded seven assists. Marshal led the way for the goalies with four wins, a 1.00 GAA, .867 save percentage and two shutouts.

14U Silver

Kellen Stulz was the overtime hero as his second goal of the game with 4:25 left in OT gave the Roughriders (pictured top) a 4-3 win over the Jr. Wildcats.

Stulz had tied the game with less than a minute left in regulation.

Levi Dunnigan also netted two goals for the Roughriders and Jonovan Wachter made 10 saves in goal.

Nolan Wilde registered two goals and an assist for the Jr. Wildcats, Ricky Skelly also scored, and London Simpson stopped 10 shots.

In round robin action, AJ Lange from the Juicers compiled four assists and seven points and Henry Shoun from the Jr. Wildcats scored six goals. Lange, Shoun, Stulz and Skelly all had seven points to boot. In goal, Wachter tallied three wins, a 1.33 GAA, .857 save percentage and one shutout. Simpson also posted a shutout.

Then back in Peoria, the AZ Outlaws Maroon captured the 8U title, Jr. Wildcats Gold secured the 12U championship, Yuma Blaze won the 18U Gold title and the Cereal Killer took home the 18U Silver championship.


The Outlaws Maroon downed the Outlaws Black by a 6-4 count as Kasen Pusateri posted two goals and two assists and Kellen Pusateri added two goals and a helper.

Maxwell Betti and Nash Piche added goals and Theo Brooks claimed the win in net.

For the Outlaws Black, Bentley Ritenour went for three goals plus an assist and Sibani Shabalala had a goal and an assist. Bryson Weres made 15 saves between the pipes.

During the round robin, Talon Ducharme had 15 points (all goals) and Kasen Pusateri compiled eight assists. In goal, Weres and Brooks each grabbed four wins and two shutouts, and Brooks added a 0.90 GAA with a .700 save percentage.


The Jr. Wildcats Gold took a 5-3 win over the Outlaws Black to win the championship.

Molina had two goals and two assists, Sam McCloud two goals, and Ryan Neutel one goal to back Weir’s 14 stops between the pipes.

Maragh, Max Suter and Kylar Tinsdale scored for the Outlaws and LaRose made 14 saves in goal.

In round robin play, Molina, Shoun and McCloud had eight goals each, McCloud rang up 13 points, and McCloud and Maxx Begdorian of the Jr. Wildcats Gold both had five assists. Between the pipes, Weir had four wins and a 1.80 GAA and LaRose had two shutouts with a .778 save percentage.

18U Gold

Gunnar Kershaw and Brandon Ott each posted two goals and an assist to lead the Blaze past the Outlaws 10-4.

Austin Estes added three goals, Matthew Boelts two goals and Cole Genhart one. Luke Freeman tacked on a pair of assists and Jackson Gebhart turned aside eight shots in goal.

For the Outlaws, Jackson McCutcheon scored two goals, Daniel Madia and Sam Borzone one each, and Keegan Tinsdale finished with 16 saves between the pipes.

Round robin action saw Eli Shulman of the Serial Grillers post 10 goals and 13 points, while the Peoria Desert Scorpions’ Kade Pareja tally six assists. For the goalies, Tinsdale had three wins and the Yetis’ Dallin McShane recorded a 2.00 GAA and a .882 save percentage.

18U Silver

The Cereal Killers rallied from a 4-2 deficit late in regulation to beat the Black Magic 5-4 in overtime as Brody Payne won it with 11:20 to go in OT.

Payne also notched an assist for a multi-point game, Austin McPherson had a goal and an assist, and Nick Wolf, Caden Shafer and Cooper O’Mahoney all scored to back Connor Blondel‘s 16-save effort in goal.

Ashton Sherstobitoff had a goal and an assist for the Black Magic and Braden Hordichuk, Gavin Fine and Cade Savoini all scored one each. Everett Payie finished with 12 saves between the pipes.

During round robin play, Payne had six assists and nine points, while the Cereal Killers’ Brady Ishu posted five goals. Blondel was the top netminder with three wins, a 1.50 GAA, .920 save percentage and one shutout.

Up next is IHAAZ State Finals, held May 6-7 and then May 20-21, at The Wheelhouse in Prescott Valley.

“Each season, we attempt to pick a weekend for State Finals that we hope won’t fall on one of the 3-4 ice hockey tryout weekends that get used each summer,” Boyarsky said. “When we originally set our State Finals dates for 2023, we did so blindly as these tryout dates are never announced until the tail end of the previous ice hockey season. The result of the dates for this year’s tryouts have forced us to split our weekends for State Finals into two, or risk multiple teams not being able to attend, preventing us from even holding some age groups.

“The easiest path was to hold our younger divisions (8U, 10U, 12U) earlier in May when the older age group ice tryouts are, and run our older divisions (14U and 18U) on the original dates as they are during the younger division ice hockey tryouts.”

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— Matt Mackinder

(May 4, 2023)

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