The fifth day of the Tier-I Youth tournament was exciting in Maryland Heights, Missouri. At both the 16U and 18U levels, the North Jersey Avalanche were battling for a spot to play in the USA Hockey National Championship games on Monday.
In the 16U game, the Avalanche faced off against the Buffalo Saints. At the end of the second period, the Avalanche trailed by two goals. As the period progressed, the Avalanche gained traction, controlling the puck more in the offensive zone. Quentin Musty put one in at 10:49 in the period. With everyone hoping the momentum had changed, Musty scored a second one with less than three minutes to go, assisted by Nicholas Moldenhauer and Mick Thompson.
As the overtime period started, both teams battled for puck possession. Just after two minutes into the period, Jake Manfre fed a pass to Nicholas Moldenhauer who sneaked past the defenseman and scored. The 16U Avalanche will face the Colorado Thunderbirds tomorrow.
The 18U game was a different scenario for the Avalanche who came out strong, with Michael Emerson scoring a goal early in the first. Shattuck-St. Mary’s quickly responded, leaving a 1-1 tie at the first flood. Matthew Brille scored a shorthanded goal early in the second, that was matched by St. Mary’s shortly after. Matthew Brille scored again, leaving the Avalanche with a 3-2 advantage headed into the third. St. Mary’s responded early, leaving a tied game at the end of regulation play.
Another tense moment for the Avalanche, as the overtime period started, this time with players from the 16U team eagerly watching in hopes their older teammates would advance as well. At 7:13 into overtime, Evan Brown fed the puck to Ethan Ullrick who passed it off to Michael Emerson. He put it past St. Mary’s goalie securing the 18U Avalanche a spot in the National Championship game. They will face Rochester Youth Hockey on Monday.