St. Paul, MN – October 7, 2017 – The Minnesota Tier 1 District playoffs for berths in the USA Hockey National Championships in April kicked off today with semifinal action at the Plymouth Ice Center in Plymouth, Minn. The Tier 1 championship games in the 14U Youth, 14U Girls and 15 Youth classifications have been set following today’s semifinal action. The champions at the 14U Youth level will advance to the National Tournament in Charlotte, N.C, April 5 – 10, 2018. The champions at the 14U Girls level will move on to the National Tournament in Marlborough, Mass., April 5 – 10, 2018. The champions at the 15 Youth level will go on to the National Tournament in Plymouth, Mich., April 5 – 10. The Minnesota District championship games will kick off tomorrow at 11:15 a.m.
All three teams that won their League championship during last week’s CCM Minnesota Hockey High Performance Tier 1 League playoffs are still alive in the hunt for an appearance at the National Tournament.
Youth 14U – The 14U Youth championship game will pit the League champion Walleye (District 3) against Shattuck-St. Mary’s. The Walleye narrowly escaped the fourth seeded Voyageurs (Districts 11 & 12) with a 3-0 victory. The Walleye took a 1-0 first period lead off the stick of Adam Marshall, and then held on the rest of the game before scoring two empty net goals in the final minute. The Walleye move on to face Shattuck-St. Mary’s, who knocked off the Green Giants (District 10) by a 7-1 score. Shattuck scored 1:40 into the game on a tip by Peter Reynolds, who scored again just over two minutes later. Reynolds completed his hat trick in the second period for the defending Minnesota District champions. Sunday’s championship game will kick off at noon on Rink C.
Girls 14U – The 14U Girls championship game will feature the League champion and top seed Green Giants (District 10) against the Polars (Districts 3 & 5). The Green Giants cruised to a 12-1 victory over the Blue Ox (North). Alea Zemlicka and Peyton Hemp each recorded a pair of goals to lead the Giants. The Green Giants advance to face the third seeded Polars; who knocked off last year’s Minnesota District Champion Lakers (District 6), 4-1. The Polars built a 3-0 lead before the Lakers responded with a late second period goal. The Polars then withstood a Lakers goal late in the second period and a furious rally before sealing the 4-1 victory with an empty net goal. Gretchen Branton posted a hat trick for the Polars, while Sloane Matthews notched a goal and an assist. The championship game starts at 11:15 AM on Rink A.
Youth 15 – The day’s only overtime game saw the Blue Ox (Team North) rally from a 3-1 deficit in the third period and emerge victorious on Charlie Erickson’s power play goal from the slot in overtime. The Blue Ox will face the Walleye (District 3), who got past the Lakers (District 6) by a 4-1 score. They Walleye jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Lakers got back into the game with a second period tally from Jack Sabre. William Peeler, who finished the game with two goals and an assist squashed the rally with a pretty breakaway goal in the third period. Peeler’s linemate Ian Barbour finished with two points on the night with a goal and an assist. Sunday’s championship starts at 2:15 PM on Rink C.
Minnesota Hockey will also host District playoffs at the Girls 16U and Girls 19U levels on October 24 at the Schwan Super Rink. The Youth 16U and Youth 18U District Playoffs will also take place at the Super Rink, November 7.