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Five teams named Tier I Youth Champion

By Jason DeAlessi, 03/14/23, 5:15PM EDT


HACKENSACK, N.J. - In a best-of-three series, champions for the Tier I Youth divisions were named at Ice House this past weekend. The 16U and 18U levels were decided in two games, while the 14U and 15O extended to a third, tie breaking game. These four divisions advance to USA Hockey Nationals from March 29 to April 3.

Also awarded was the 12U District Championship that went to the North Jersey Avalanche. As the terminal event at this age level, competition is spread out across three days, starting with round robin play and ending in a championship single-game contest. Heading into the final game, it looked like the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers would have the upper hand. But the Avalanche pushed the game to overtime and ultimately came out on top.

At the 16U age level, the Avalanche faced off against the New York Saints for a highly anticipated matchup. In the first game, the Avalanche skated away with an easy victory, but the Saints came back fighting Sunday morning. Ultimately the Avalanche would escape with the title in only two games and earn their spot at nationals in San Jose, California.

Joining the Avalanche out west are the Jr. Flyers at the 18U age level. Up against the New Jersey Rockets, the Jr. Flyers ended the first game ahead 5-2. On Sunday, the Rockets came out strong, looking to push the series to game three. But the Jr. Flyers maintained their on-ice strength and notched a one goal differential to end the series in only two.

At the 14U level, the Rockets and Valley Forge Minutemen faced off. The first game went to the Rockets 3-1, but in game two the netminders were on top of their game. The Minutemen managed to score the sole goal of the game and tie the series. Monday morning, the two teams battled it out for three periods before the Minutemen took it away and won 4-2. They’ll head to Plymouth, Michigan to compete for the national title.

The Avalanche and Rockets battled it out at the 15O level. Saturday, the Rockets came out ahead 6-3 and Sunday the Avalanche flipped the narrative, coming out ahead 5-2. Monday afternoon it could be anyone’s title. The Rockets sneaked out with a 4-3 victory and will travel up 287 to Wayne, New Jersey to compete for a national title at the Ice Vault.