Little Caesars Bantam Major, 15U teams win national championships
Members of the Little Caesars Bantam Major team, left, and the Midget 15 team celebrate their national titles.
It was a good post-season for Little Caesars Youth hockey teams.
Two are USA Hockey Tier I National Champions, another is national a runner-up and yet another reached the semifinal of its national tournament.
The new champions are the LC AAA Bantam Major and Midget 15 teams, both of which won their USA Hockey Tier I national titles on Monday. The Bantam Major squad defeated the Florida Alliance 4-0 in Pittsburgh, while the Midget 15 team defeated local rivals the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 4-0 at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth Township.
Trent Boryszcuk made 24 saves in earning the shutout for the Bantam Major team, which got two goals from Michael Mesic, a goal and two assists from Frank Nazar and a goal from Justin Varner.
“We had some rough patches this season, but in the last few weeks of the season we’ve really turned it on in terms of everybody,” LC Bantam Major coach Brian Felsner told USA Hockey. “It took 18 guys playing together for a long stretch, and I’m really proud of that. This is not an easy tournament. Hats off to Florida; it’s not easy just getting here, let alone winning it. Florida played a great game as well. We’re happy with the result, obviously, but with everyone who participated.”
Meanwhile, Caesars Midget 15 goalie Zakari Brice had to make only 13 saves for his shutout.
“This is what we’ve been striving for all year,” Brice said. “You can’t really put it into words. It’s just an unbelievable feeling, and it’s a fun time with the boys.”
It was Brice’s second consecutive shutout. Little Caesars defeated Shattuck St. Mary’s 5-0 in the semifinal on Sunday.
“I think it just shows the strength of the team,” said Caesars 15U coach Patrik Stefan about his team’s back-to-back shutouts. “The goalie, Zak Brice, was unreal over the last three games and we played some good defense. Playing for each other … that’s what the playoffs are about. You’re not going to win too many playoff games with one or two guys, and we showed that especially over the last three games.”
Mikita Tarasevich had two goals and an assist and Luke Hughes – Quinn and Jack’s younger brother – and Ethan Wissink also scored.
It appeared for most of another game that there would be a third Little Caesars national championship on Monday, but that was not to be.
Despite leading by two goals early in the third period, the LC Girls 14U team dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to the Pittsburgh Pens Elite in the Tier I Girls 14U national title game in Irvine, Calif.
Pittsburgh scored twice in the last five minutes of regulation, and Jaidan Fahrny scored in OT to give the Pens the national crown.
The Caesars Youth Midget Minor team, coached by Kris Draper, reached the Tier I 16U semifinals but lost 6-1 to Yale (Connecticut) on Sunday at the Southside Ice Arena in Byron Center. The city of Grand Rapids hosted the national tournament.
The squad reached the 15U National Championship game last season – at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth Township – but fell, 2-1, to the Buffalo Jr. Sabres.
The Little Caesars Girls 12U team also won the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association Tier I state championship this past season, but there is no national tournament for that age group.
Members of the Little Caesars Bantam Major team and 14U Tier I USA Hockey national champions are: Nolan Abraham, Trent Boryszcuk, Prestyn Carter, Ben Catlin, Zach Cline, Jackson Ewald, Dylan Gordon, Christian Kocsis, Luke Lisko, Michael Mesic, Frank Nazar, Chase Pietila, Davis Rickard, Tucker Shedd, Spencer Sova, Luke St. Ledger, Camron Vansickle and Justin Varner.
Members of the Little Caesars Midget 15 team and 15 Only USA Hockey national champions are Luke Hughes, Sam Volturo, Mikita Tarasevich, Max Noll, James Stefan, Billy Renfrew, Karsten Senden, Ethan Wissink, Jack O’Brien, Max Smolinski, Griffin Jurecki, Wyatt Chappel, Josh Adams, Zak Brice, Ryan Goodfellow, Nickita Moiseev, Evan Werner and Devon Seymour.