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Around The Rinks (USA Youth Nationals Playoff Edition): Anchorage North Stars 18U boys, Hockey Club Fairbanks 19U girls march into Tier II championship games

by | Apr 7, 2024 | Cover Story, Hockey

Two Alaska teams, the Anchorage North Stars 18U boys and Hockey Club Fairbanks 19U girls, advanced to Tier II championship games Sunday on the strength of quarterfinal and semifinal wins Saturday at the USA Hockey National Championships.

The North Stars (5-0-0) beat the Montgomery Ice Devils of Maryland 6-3 in the semis after dispatching the Tri-Cities Jr. Americans of Washington, 2-0, in the quarterfinals of the 2A division in Delmont, Penn.

Hockey Club Fairbanks (4-1-0) reached the title game in the 1A division in East Lansing, Mich., courtesy of a 3-2 win over Mamaronek Stateline (N.Y.) in the semis and a 6-1 victory over the Montana Wolves in the quarterfinals.

Paul Dittrich’s hat trick and Andrew Sturgeon’s goal and two assists propelled the North Stars to their semifinal win. Hunter Lantz scored a goal and Zachary Blanton stopped 22 shots. Anchorage’s quarterfinal win was sparked by Blanton’s 25-save shutout and goals from Brody Melocik and Owen Melson. Dittrich, who furnished the primary helper on Melson’s goal, has scored at least one point in all five games.

The North Stars face the Nashville Jr. Predators in the championship game.

Meanwhile, Hockey Club Fairbanks used Clara Creviston’s goal off a Galilee Murray assist with just 58 seconds remaining to seize its semifinal. Paeytnn Conlon and Emma Ackerman also scored goals, and Murray had two assists. Gennesaret Halbert made 24 saves.

In its quarterfinal win, Fairbanks (4-1-0) received one goal and one assist from both Creviston and Conlon, and goals from Murray, Grace White, Avery Lasher and Sofia Flores Watkins. Fairbanks faces the Kensington Valley Ravens of Michigan in the title game.

Three other Alaska teams who made the playoffs were eliminated Saturday, two after winning semifinal games and the other in a quarterfinal. Five of seven Alaska teams, all in Tier II, the second level of American youth hockey, advanced out of pool play to the playoffs.

The Alaska All Stars 19U girls (3-2-0) fell 3-2 to the East Coast Wizards (Mass.) in the 2A division semifinals after beating the Boston Jr. Eagles 3-1 in the quarterfinals in East Lansing.

Alaska led 2-0 in the semis after second-period goals 37 seconds apart from Rian Runyan and Malila Miller, but it surrendered three third-period goals in a span of 4:22. Tess Jorgensen made 29 saves. Adeline Gularte sparked the quarterfinal win with two goals and Runyan added a goal. Kailie Champagne made 20 saves.

Runyan led the All Stars in scoring with seven goals in five games. Gularte contributed 4-2—6 totals across five games and Karissa Haimes went 1-4—5.

In the boys 16U 2A tournament in Dallas, the Valley Thunder (3-2-0) fell 6-2 to the Tampa Bay Crunch in the semifinals after beating the Maine Gladiators 3-1 in the quarterfinals.

The Thunder fell behind 4-0 in the opening 10-plus minutes of the semifinal before Parker Juscak scored short-handed off a Trenton Huber helper. Kaleb Von Gunten also scored a goal. Juscak’s two goals, including the clinching empty-net strike, led the Thunder’s quarterfinal win. Keagon O’Bryan was a rock – 41 saves.

Juscak led Valley Thunder tournament scorers with 5-2—7 totals in five games, Huber went 4-2—6 and defenseman Matthew Ross posted 2-2—4. O’Bryan went 3-1-0, with a 2.45 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.

In the boys 14U 2A quarterfinals in Amherst, N.Y., the Alaska Wolves (2-1-1) lost 2-1 to the Wissahickon Warriors (Penn.) despite 25 saves from Rohn Pride.

Trygve Solomonson scored the Wolves goal.

Devin Berg led the Wolves in tournament scoring with 2-1—3 totals in four games. Pride went 2-1-1, 1.66, .920.

Alaskans playing on Outside teams at Tier I national tournaments all advanced to championship games:

  • The girls 16U championship in Plymouth, Mich., will pit Alaskan against Alaskan. Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Minn.), which includes defenseman Olivia Johnson of Palmer, advanced to the final with a 3-2 semifinal win over the Minnesota Magazine. Shattuck will face the Bishop Kearney Selects (N.Y), who include forward Annika Stock of Anchorage and beat Assabet Valley (Mass.) 2-1 in the semis.
  • The Shattuck boys 18U team, which includes forward Ryan Embley of Anchorage, pulled off a big semifinal comeback, trailing by three goals early in the second period, to beat the Long Island (N.Y.) Gulls 5-4 in overtime in Las Vegas.
  • In the girls 19U tournament in West Chapel, Fla., forward Ella Johnson of Palmer and Shattuck beat the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers 3-1 in the semis.
  • And Shattuck’s 14U boys team, which includes forward Camden Zaporzan of Anchorage, beat the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 5-3 in a semifinal in Plymouth.

Story made possible by:

Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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