All three North Country minor hockey teams competing at USA Hockey Tier II National tournaments moved on to their respective quarterfinals after closing out the preliminary round with wins on Friday.
The St. Lawrence Thunder 16-U and 14-U boys teams both clinched the top seed from their divisions after going 3-0 while the North Country Icestorm 16-U Girls advanced by posting their second straight win. The three squads will be returning to the ice this morning hoping to reach semifinal games slated for the evening. The national championship games are scheduled for Sunday.
Guided by Josh Bartell, the Thunder Midgets continued their impressive opening round at the 16-U tournament in Reston, Virginia, by skating to a 2-1 win over the Chicago Hawks to earn the top seed from their division.
Kaden Pickering opened the scoring for the Thunder 5:23 into the game with an unassisted goal but the Hawks pulled even at 6:42 of the second on a goal by Nicholas Cardelli. Pickering put the locals back on top at the 12:35 mark when he finished off a play set up by Chad Varney and Hayden Hart and that would stand as the game-winner.
Jonathan Stone turned aside 26 shots backstopping the win while Bradley Neal has 24 saves in the loss.
The quarterfinal round matchup against the Tampa Scorpions is slated for today at 8 a.m. with the semifinals scheduled for the evening. The championship game is Sunday at 9:15 a.m.
Coached by Bobby Smith, the Thunder Bantams capped their unbeaten run through the opening round with a 3-0 win over the Erie Lions Friday morning in Hackensack, New Jersey, as they set their sights on reaching the tournament final for the third straight year.
Josh Sanchez broke through for the eventual game-winner at 7:10 of the first period then assisted the second Thunder goal by Corson Green at the 16:22 mark. Sanchez then sealed the win by converting on an assist by Green with 45 seconds left in the middle frame.
Grant VanBuren stood tall handling the 35 shots he faced backstopping the shutout while Jarrett Fiske kept the game close with a 47-save performance for the Lions (0-3).
The Thunder will now get set to take on the Hollydell Hurricanes today at 10 a.m. in the quarterfinals. The semifinals are this evening and the national final is Sunday at 1 p.m.
Guided by Mike Grant, the Icestorm completed their recovery from an opening-day loss by notching a 3-0 decision over Carolina early Friday afternoon.
Kalie Grant continued her brilliant play at forward for the Icestorm, connecting for all three goals strarting with what would hold up as the game-winner at 12:25 of the first period. After a scoreless second period, Grant combined with Kelsey Green to notch a pair of third-period tallies at 6:39 and 16:38 and seal the win.
Allie Compeau posted 18 saves working the crease for the shutout while Isabella Mayo handled 20- shots in the losing cause.
In a rematch of last years national tournament final, the Icestorm will now get set to take on the defending champion Vermont Shamrocks in the quarterfinals today starting at 10:25 a.m. The semifinals are slated for 4:45 p.m. and the title game for 10 a.m. on Sunday.