Atlantic Youth Hockey League


Six AYHL teams punch their tickets to Nationals

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (March 20, 2018) – The New Jersey Colonials (14U), Mercer Chiefs (15U), Team Maryland (15U), Washington Little Capitals (16U) and the North Jersey Avalanche (16U, 18U) have each qualified for the 2018 Chipotle-USA Hockey Tier I National Championships after winning their respective district championships.

The 2018 USA Hockey Tier I National Championships are being held April 5-10 at three different locations: Charlotte, North Carolina (14U), Plymouth, Michigan (15U) and West Chester, Pennsylvania (16U, 18U). The Atlantic Youth Hockey League’s Philadelphia Junior Flyers will serve as the hosting organization/program at the West Chest, Pa. location.

Teams qualifying via an at-large bid are not yet announced.

The Colonials, Chiefs and Avalanche each qualified out of the Atlantic District, while the Capitals and Team Maryland qualified out of the Southeastern District.

At 14U, the Colonials won consecutive 4-3 decisions to complete a two-game sweep of Virtua Hockey. In Game One, the Colonials rallied for three straight goals in the final period to best Virtua. Virtua’s Michael Roby (Churchville, Pa.) scored on the opening shift of the third period to put Virtua in from 3-1. Forward Greg Spitznagel (Summit, N.J.) notched two goals in a 16 second span to knot the score. Luka Sukovic (Lincolnshire, Ill.) capped the flurry, beating Andrew Lavdas (Marlton, N.J.) to give New Jersey the opener. Tommy Heaney (Eatontown, N.J.) made 24 saves to earn the win.

In Game Two, third-period heroics were on display for the second straight day, as Spitznagel’s late tally forced overtime, before Matthew Brille (Bethesda, Md.) scored 2:55 into overtime to send the Colonials on to Nationals. Virtua had jumped in front on goals by Jayden Sison (Paoli, Pa.) and Jason Player (Mount Royal, N.J.) before Spitznagel buried his third goal of the series.

At 15U, Mercer capped its strong season with a two-game sweep of Virtua to advance to the national tournament.

In the opener, Ethan Chase (Cherry Hill, N.J.) and Sean Grant (Toms River, N.J.) staked Mercer to a 2-0 lead after the opening period and then the Chiefs hung on for a 4-2 victory. Thomas Semptimphelter (Marlton, N.J.) made 18 saves to preserve the victory. Aydan Humphrey (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Andrew Eberling (Mount Laurel, N.J.) found the back of the net for Virtua, but Peter Poulianas (Sewell, N.J.) and Lachlan Getz (Lawrenceville, N.J.) scored in the final period to put the game out of reach. Getz’s tally came on the power play.

In Game Two, Jeremy Siegel (Richboro, Pa.) was the star of the game, keeping Virtua off the board in a 4-0 shutout. Michael Waters (Collegeville, Pa.) and Shane Albert (Philadelphia, Pa.) beat Owen Yancey (Gilbertsville, Pa.) in the second period to provide all the offense Mercer needed. Jonathan Ritter (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Grant scored in the final stanza to close out the scoring.

Team Maryland punched its ticket to Plymouth with a 3-1 victory over the Washington Little Capitals with goalie Chris Jackson (Charles Town, W. Va.) playing a large role in the championship victory. Maryland shut out TPH Thunder and bested the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes to reach the final game. Washington topped the regional rival 4-0 in pool play.

The Washington Little Capitals return to the national championship with a 5-4 overtime victory over TPH Thunder. The Thunder bested the Caps 3-1 in pool play.

Washington reached the final after a dominating 9-3 victory over the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes and a 6-2 win over Team Maryland.

In the final, the Thunder got on the board early courtesy of a short-handed goal. The Caps tied the game with a special teams goal of their own. With the Caps still on the power play, Forward Mark Sangster (Ashburn, Va.) redirected a Kyle Golden (Fairfax, Va.) to get the Caps on the board. Ethan Privman (Ashburn, Va.) also found the back of the net to give the Caps a 2-1 advantage after one period.

Mac Robertson (Bowie, Md.) pushed the Washington to lead to two early in the second period. TPH battled back to score consecutive goals to tie the score at three heading into the second intermission. The Thunder scored their second short-handed goal of the game, before Reid Leibold (Ashburn, Va./RPI) scored on the power-play to force overtime. The teams combined for six special-team goals.

In the extra session, forward Owen Morgan (Centreville, Va.) took Leibold’s centering pass and beat the TPH netminder to send Washington on to nationals. Goalie Connor Leslie (Leesburg, Va.) made a point-blank save to keep the teams tied, leading to Morgan’s heroics.

The North Jersey Avalanche organization is also returning to the national tournament at both 16 and 18U after sweeping the Mercer Chiefs at 16U and sweeping Virtua Hockey at 18U.

In the opener, three players each collected two goals and Ty Franchi (Denville, N.J.) made 39 saves as the Avalanche routed the Chiefs, 12-1. Alex Gaffney (West Orange, N.J./Harvard), Alex Dominique (North Miami, Fla.) and Jason Marsella (Greenwich, Conn.) each scored twice as the Avalanche scored five times in the second and added five more in the third to break open a 2-1 game. Alex D’Angelo (Holland, Pa.) had the lone goal for Mercer.

In the final, Franchi was again stellar in net, making 55 saves to keep the Avalanche in the game, before Alex Laferriere (Chatham, N.J.) sent the Avalanche on to West Chester with an overtime game-winner. D’Angelo and Michael Posma (Ponoma, N.Y.) alternated first-period goals and Lundy and Lukas Sedlacek (Staten Island, N.Y.) followed suit in the second. Franchi and Dylan Ringheiser (Pine Hill, N.J.) combined for 19 saves in a scoreless third, setting the stage for Laferriere’s heroics.

Cooper Fensterstock (Matthews, N.C.) totaled three goals over two games to lead the Avalanche to pair of multi-goal victories over Virtua to return the 18U program to the national tournament. Goaltenders Ajay Fernandez (Stamford, Conn.) and Tate Brandon (Irvington, N.Y.) combined for 72 saves over the two victories.

In the opener, Fensterstick and Cole Edgerton (Morris Plains, N.J.) found the back of the net in the opening period, giving the Avalanche a two-goal cushion. Brandon made nine saves in the first period, keeping Virtua’s offense in check. Domenic Garozzo (Sewell, N.J.) beat Brandon to draw Virtua within one, but Fensterstock opened the third period with his second goal of the game to again give the Avs a two-goal advantage. Cole Kodsi (Boca Raton, Fla./Michigan State) beat Kavan Johnson (St. Peters, Mo.) four minutes later to round out the scoring.

The second game of the series provided exciting back-and-forth action in the first period, with the teams combining for six goals over the game’s first 15 minutes. Edgerton opened the scoring 43 seconds into the opening period, beating Johnson. The teams alternated the next three goals, before consecutive goals from Pito Walton (Peapack, N.J.) and Oliver MacDonald (Grosse Point Park, Mich.) gave the Avs a 4-2 lead at the first intermission. Fensterstock and Max Kouznetsov (Voorhees) exchanged second-period power-play goals to provide the game’s final margin. Fernandez and Lynch combined for 24 saves in the third period.

Click on each team name for the organization’s official announcement/social media posting: Avalanche, Capitals, Chiefs, Colonials and Team Maryland.

The Atlantic Youth Hockey League is the USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier I AAA youth hockey league of the Atlantic District. From Connecticut to Maryland, the AYHL’s membership is comprised of over 100 teams, representing four districts, and is spread across six playing divisions. The AYHL’s mission is to develop young players with competition, fun, and good sportsmanship, and move them on to the next phase of their hockey career. With a distinguished alumni list of players that spent a portion of their playing career in the AYHL, today’s players choose to play in the AYHL knowing that it is a proven stepping stone for those serious in their hockey pursuits.

For more information on the AYHL, log on to HTTP://WWW.ATLANTICHOCKEY.ORG/AYHL.PHP or on Twitter @AYHL or on Facebook at HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/THEAYHL

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