NAPHL, FPT event in Blaine comes to a close
December 6, 2016
NAHL Future Prospects Champions: 18U-Rink Hockey Academy Nationals (top), 16U-HC Dallas AA (middle), 14U-Thunder Bay Kings (bottom).
The fourth NAPHL event of the season concluded on Monday, December 5th at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota.
It was also the conclusion of the third NAHL Future Prospects Tournament of the season, which featured at-large teams from across the country competing at the 18U, 16U and 14U levels.
The event was highlighted by the 2016 NAPHL 16U and 18U All-Star Games, which were played on Sunday, December 4th.
The event had a very good scout turnout, which included several coaches from both the NAHL and USHL, in addition to some NCAA scouts.
With only five games remaining in the 2016-17 regular season after this weekend’s event, many teams have clinched playoff berths in the Gold Division for the 2017 NAPHL Championships. The top 10 teams in the 18U and 16U Divisions qualify for the Gold Division, who will compete for the Dixon Cup Championship.
Three teams have clinched Gold Division playoff spots in the 18U Division, who include Rocky Mountain, St. Louis and Madison. The RoughRiders and Capitols both were a perfect 4-0 in the event in Blaine, while St. Louis went 2-1-1. The other hot team in Blaine was Omaha AAA, who went 4-0 and climbed into 4th place in the standings. Meijer helped their cause with a 3-0-1 record in Blaine, which included two shutouts. New Jersey and Shattuck-St. Mary’s are tied for 6th place with 22 points. The Valley Forge Minutemen took a stumble down to 8th place with a 1-3 record in Blaine. Rounding out the top 10 are the Northern Cyclones and Washington Little Capitals. A point behind Washington in 11th place are the Thunder Bay Kings, who went 2-2 in Blaine. Thunder Bay and Washington will face one another in a huge game at the final NAPHL regular season event of the year next month in Troy, Michigan. Two points behind the Little Capitals sit Pursuit of Excellence and the Arizona Bobcats. POE helped their cause with a 2-1-1 record, while Arizona went 2-2. HC Dallas, Esmark and Wenatchee would have to win all five games in Troy and hope for some help to make the playoffs. Despite being in last place, it was also a good event for the California Titans, who went 2-2, winning their first games of the season.
Omaha AAA kept the pedal to the floor with four more wins and are now 17-0 on the season. Omaha and the Esmark Stars are the only two who have statistically clinched a Gold Division playoff berth. The Stars went a perfect 4-0 in Blaine as well. The Everett Jr. Silvertips are in 3rd place with 25 points and have won eight of their last 10 games. In a tie for 4th is Rocky Mountain and New Jersey. The RoughRiders went 3-0-1 in Blaine. Meijer AAA is in 6th place with 22 points and St. Louis is in 7th place with 21 points. Thunder Bay and Madison sit in an 8th place tie with 19 points. Madison went 3-0-1 in Blaine. Arizona occupies the 10th and final spot with 17 points. Colorado Springs took a dive down the standings into 11th place as they went 0-3-1 in Blaine and are now on the outside looking in the playoff picture. Valley Forge, HC Dallas, Washington, the Northern Cyclones, Pursuit of Excellence and California are all likely out of the Gold Division playoff picture.
The 15U Division continued in Blaine with their second event of the season. Omaha AAA leads the way with a 9-1 record, but suffered their first loss in Blaine. The Washington Little Caps are in 2nd place and went a perfect 4-0 in Blaine. New Jersey is in a tie for 3rd place with Colorado Springs. The Jr. Titans beat Omaha 2-1 on the final day. Rocky Mountain is in 5th place, a point behind both New Jersey and Colorado Springs. Rounding out the field is Meijer AAA, Arizona, Esmark and the Northern Cyclones.
18U Future Prospects
Rink Hockey Academy Nationals (Winnipeg, Manitoba) posted a perfect 5-0 record on their way to the Championship. In the Finals, they defeated International Hockey Academy (Chestermere, Alberta), 5-2. Tristen Robins led the way for Rink with nine points in the five games, which included a goal and an assist in the Championship Game. Marcus Sekundiak led the event with six goals for Rink Hockey. International’s Carter Wilkie had nine points in the event to tie for the scoring lead.
16U Future Prospects
The HC Dallas AA 16U team took home the 16U Championship with a perfect 5-0 record, which included a 3-1 win over the Las Vegas Storm in the 16U Championship Game. HC Dallas did it with defense and goaltending, as they allowed just five goals in the five games. Noah Preston and Nicholas Cyprian each led the way offensively with 10 points. Evan Riddle and Graham Brady were a sparkling duo in goal. Las Vegas finished with a 3-2 record. Zach McClenahan led the way for the Storm with 10 points, tying for the event lead.
14U Future Prospects
The Thunder Bay Kings 14U team finished off a perfect 5-0 run Monday afternoon by defeating Omaha AAA 2-1 in the championship game. Omaha took the early lead five and a half minutes into the contest on a Max Tobin marker and held that margin into the middle stanza. In the second period, Thunder Bay would tie it thanks to a Michael Stubbs effort with 63 seconds left in the session. Aptly dubbed a future prospects event, it was Stubbs who once again showed his potential as he led the Kings by burying the game winner 2:57 into the final to give his side the title. Netminder Connor Lemieux did the rest stopping 21 of the 22 shots he faced along the way in picking up the win for Thunder Bay. For Stubbs, he put on another dominant performance for the Kings as he now has 15 goals to his credit through nine games and two rounds of NAPHL FP play.