Quartet of 14U, 18U teams bring home hardware from late-May IHAAZ tournament in Peoria
In the final IHAAZ event before State Finals this coming weekend, two 14U and two 18U divisions played for titles over the May 20-21 weekend in Peoria for the sixth tournament of the 2022 season.
Four champions were crowned at the Peoria Sportsplex as the Legion Light (14U A), Outlaws (14U AA), O’Faaz (18U A), and Yuma Blaze (18U AA) all brought home championships from the event.
“With our A and AA divisions split going into the tail-end of the season, we get to see the sort of parity in these divisions that make for some very exciting and dramatic games,” said IHAAZ tournament director Nick Boyarsky. “This event gives these teams a chance to see what their path to winning a state championship will need to look like.”
Zak Worner’s two goals paced the Legion Light (pictured above) attack en route to a 4-3 win over the Arizona Jr. Wildcats.
Gavin Nebeker added a goal and an assist while Felix Gossen also scored. Gavin Lopo picked up the win in goal for the victors with a 12-save performance.
For the Jr. Wildcats, Cavin Ryder went for two goals and an assist and Aidan Blondel netted the other goal as Robby Skelly was sharp between the pipes with 11 saves.
During the round robin, Aiden Lynch of Cap’n Crunch posted eight points, while Nebeker had seven goals, and the Yuma Blaze’s Luke Freeman had five assists among eight points. In net, Lopo led the way with three wins, a 2.25 goals-against average and a .842 save percentage.
The 14U AA division was decided by round robin results, as the Outlaws finished first and Knighthawks second.
Eli Shulman led the offense for the Outlaws with seven goals and 11 points and five different players had five assists. The Outlaws’ Jeremy Widders recorded three wins in goal and the Knighthawks’ Maddox Marshall secured a 3.00 GAA with a .778 save percentage.
Mason Kirk scored twice to lift O’Faaz over the Outlaws 4-2 in the title game.
Kaden Paterno had a goal and an assist and Dylan Farber also scored to back Connor Blondel’s 19 saves in goal.
EJ Green posted a goal and an assist for the Outlaws, Matthew Gagliano added a goal, and Widders finished with eight saves.
In round robin action, Green had nine points and joined the Yetis’ Eric Mayhan with four assists, and Liam Wilde from the Jr. Wildcats rang up five goals. Between the pipes, Blondel, Widders and the Yetis’ Dallin McShane each recorded two wins, while Blondel went for a 1.75 GAA and a .875 save percentage. McShane registered the lone shutout.
Yuma took the title by a 6-2 count over the Roller Wagon.
Justin Vandeberg tallied two goals and a pair of assists, while Austin Estes collected two goals and an assist with Brandon Ott also tacking on a pair of goals.
Jackson Gebhart made 11 saves for the win in goal.
For Roller Wagon, Jacob Solano and Brett Strick scored and Connor Dumesnill finished with 12 saves between the pipes.
During the round robin, Ott led the way with nine points, the Thunder’s Caden Wells had seven goals, and the Desert Scorpions’ Kade Pareja chipped in six assists. In goal, Dumesnill posted three wins, while Aiden Biswanger of the Desert Scorpions was tops with a 2.00 GAA and a .833 save percentage.
“The format for State Finals in these five-team divisions gives every team the opportunity to come out of round robin with a chance to win it all,” Boyarsky said. “The better your round robin result, the easier that path is, but nobody will have things locked up until that final buzzer.”
State Finals runs June 10-12 at the new Wheelhouse Sports Complex in Prescott Valley.
For more information, visit IHAAZ.com.
— Matt Mackinder
(June 8, 2022)