NAPHL, Future Prospects event a success in Colorado
November 15, 2016
Three NAPHL events are now in the books with the conclusion of the third event of the season, which took place in Westminster and Superior, Colorado this past weekend.
One thing is clear, the parity and competition this season is very evident and the race for the top spots in each division, along with the battle for the final top 10 playoff spots is a very good one with two regular season events remaining.
The big movers in the 18U Division in Colorado were the Valley Forge Minutemen, who were the only team to post a perfect 4-0 record at the event. St. Louis, who still sits in 1st place in the 18U Division with 22 points, went 3-1 at the event. Also helping their causes with three wins in Colorado were Madison, New Jersey, Northern Cyclones, Omaha AAA, Rocky Mountain and Thunder Bay. The three wins for Thunder Bay were huge and got the team to within two points of the 10th and final playoff spot. Still in the thick of the playoff race and winning two games in Colorado was both Meijer and Shattuck St. Mary’s. Occupying the 10th and final playoff spot is HC Dallas, who went just 1-3 in Colorado. Also going 1-3 were Washington, Esmark, Colorado Springs and Arizona. Both Wenatchee and Pursuit of Excellence picked up three points at the event, going 1-2-1 and California remaining winless on the season, going 0-4.
Cruising at the top of the 16U Division is Omaha. Winners of the Bauer Invite Tournament a week ago, Omaha cruised to four wins in Colorado, outscoring their opponents 25-5. They currently sit atop of the 16U Division at 13-0-0. Alone in 2nd place is New Jersey at 10-3-0. Like Omaha, the Jr. Titans went 4-0 at the event, but faced some tough competition, winning two, one-goal games. Tied for 3rd is Esmark and perhaps the feel good story of the year, the Everett Jr. Silvertips. Everett, who did not win a league game a year ago, went a perfect 4-0 in Colorado and now have a 9-3-1 record. Also at 9-3-1 is Esmark, who posted a 3-0-1 record in Colorado. In 5th place are the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders, who went 2-1-1 at their home event and sit at 8-4-1 overall. Also helping their cause was Meijer AAA, who went 3-1 at the event and sit alone in 6th place overall at 8-5-0. The St. Louis Selects went 2-1-1 and reside in 7th place with a 7-5-1 record. In 8th place is the Colorado Springs Tigers, who helped their cause by going 3-1 in their home state and now sit a game above .500 at 7-6-0. Two teams occupy the final playoff spots with 13 points as Thunder Bay and Arizona both sit at 6-6-1. Arizona went 2-1-1 at the event and Thunder Bay went 1-3-0. The two teams split a pair of games in Colorado. On the outside of the playoff picture is Madison at 12 points and a 5-6-2 record. The Caps went 0-4 at the Colorado event with a very tough schedule. HC Dallas is in 12th place at 5-8 and went 1-3 in Colorado. Valley Forge is in 13th place and also went 1-3 in Colorado. The remaining teams have a lot of work to do to get into a playoff spot as Washington did go 2-2 at the event, but sit in 14th place at 3-9-1. Rounding out the filed are the Northern Cyclones, California Titans and Pursuit of Excellence. Of the group, Pursuit of Excellence was the only one to win in Colorado, picking up their first league win of the season.
Future Prospects Tournament
In the 14U NAHL Future Prospects Tournament, six teams battled for the title and in the end Omaha AAA fought off a loss in the round-robin portion of the event and won the title with a 3-2 win over the San Diego Gulls. After an opening loss to Rocky Mountain, Omaha defeated Pursuit of Excellence and the Colorado Evolution to make the Semi-Finals. There they met Rocky Mountain again and this time, avenged their 4-0 loss earlier with a 4-1 win. In the Championship game, they scored three, 1st period goals on their way to a 3-2 win. Hayden Rast led the way with six points and goalie Stephen Masilkowski made 24 saves in the Championship Game. Sam Deckhut of San Diego led all scorers with nine points. Justin Nakagawa had seven points, including five goals and Noah Leibl had six goals. The RoughRiders finished with a 3-1 record with their lone loss coming in the Semi-Finals to Omaha. The Colorado Evolution finished at 2-2. Pursuit of Excellence finished at 1-3 and the West Coast Renegades finished 0-4. The Renegades lost to the Evotution 5-3 in the 5th place game, which was their best showing of the event in the wake of the tragic news of Renegades forward Karsen Wight and his family being involved in a car accident on the way to the event.