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Atlantic Youth Hockey League

 

18U Nationals Preview

Release Date : 03/29/206

HACKENSACK, N.J. – The pool play matchups for the North Jersey Avalanche have been announced for the 2016 Toyota/USA Hockey Tier I National Championships at the Midget 18U level. The Avalanche reached the national tournament by virtue of winning the Atlantic District championship.

The organization is also being represented at Midget 16U and Bantam AA. The 18U team is making a return to the national tournament, one season after claiming the Silver Medal in 2015.

After earning their place in the 2015 national tournament, representing both, the Atlantic Youth Hockey League and the Atlantic District, the Avalanche breezed through the Chicago Mission (4-2), Shattuck-St. Mary’s (5-4), and the Amherst Knights (7-1) in pool play, bested the Connecticut Selects (2-1) in the quarterfinals, and eliminated the Cape Cod Whalers (2-1) in the semifinals, before falling to the Connecticut Wolfpack (5-4, in overtime) in the Gold Medal Game.

Goaltender Joshua Sarlo (Lynbrook, N.Y.) finished the tournament with four wins, leading all goaltenders and shortly after the national tournament, the team announced the commitments of Evan Wisocky (Hoboken, N.J) and Christopher Grando (Islip, N.Y.) to UCONN and Boston College respectively.

Using their 2014-15 finish as a springboard to a fast start in 2015-16, the Avalanche finished their season with a 58-14-5 record, ranking 9th in the country, per MyHockeyRankings.com. With a potent offense powered by Bobby Hampton (Middletown, NJ/Northeastern), Matthew Kidney (Middletown, N.J.) and Todd Goehring (Wayside, NJ/Sacred Heart), the Avalanche outscored opponents by a 311-145 (+166) margin. The program finished with the 32nd toughest schedule in the country and had the 14th best average goal differential. The Avalanche also won the prestigious Tier 1 Elite Hockey League, defeating the seventh-ranked Oakland Jr. Grizzlies to claim the circuit’s championship. The Avalanche roster features three players with Division I commitments.

How’d we get here: The Avalanche won the Atlantic Youth Hockey League regular season title, also placing first in the Atlantic District. The Avalanche was unsuccessful in their quest to claim a postseason championship, falling to the Philadelphia Junior Flyers in double overtime.

The Avalanche exacted their revenge at the district championship, sweeping the Junior Flyers in two games, to claim the district’s automatic birth.

The matchups: The Avalanche were placed in Pool C, which one scout referred to as ‘The Group of Death’ on social media as the pool, in addition to the Avalanche, has two of the top four teams in the country. Here are the pool play matchups:
Thursday, March 31 @ 6:00 p.m. (East) @ Culver Academy
Friday, April 1 @ 12:00 p.m. (East) vs. Mid-Fairfield Junior Rangers
Saturday, April 2 @ 6:00 p.m. (East) vs. Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede
 
The top two teams from Pool C advance to the quarterfinals for matchups with the top two teams in Pool C. The quarterfinal matchups are as follows:
Sunday, April 3 @ 10:00 a.m. (East) Pool C #2 @ Pool D #1 (Game one)
Sunday, April 3 @ 12:00 p.m. (South) Pool D #2 @ Pool C #1 (Game three)
 
If the Avalanche are victorious in the quarterfinals, the semifinal matchups are:
If Avalanche play in game one: Sunday, April 3 @ 7:00 p.m. (North)
If Avalanche play in game three: Sunday, April 3 @ 7:00 p.m. (East)
 
If the Avalanche advance to the championship:
Monday, April 4 @ 10:30 a.m. (North)

All games take place at the Sharks Ice at San Jose in San Jose, California.

The opponents: The Avalanche open play against Culver Academy. A military academy for boys located in Culver, Indiana, the program finished with a 30-8-5 record, Culver skated as a Tier I independent program, and ranked fourth nationally. Culver had the 16th toughest schedule in the country and outscored opponents 200-91 (+109) for the eighth best average goal differential. Culver reached nationals by defeating the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets, 2-1, to win the Mid-American District.

The Avalanche did not face-off with Culver in the regular season.

The Avalanche will continue pool play by matchup up with Mid-Fairfield, the second ranked team in the country. After going undefeated in regular season play, Mid-Fairfield reached nationals with a 6-3 victory over Selects Academy in the finals of the Connecticut Hockey Conference, the governing body for USA Hockey in Connecticut. Mid-Fairfield has a record of 21-4-1 and has outscored opponents, 118-49 (+69), the smallest margin of victory among teams in the ‘C’ bracket. The Junior Rangers played the fifth toughest schedule in the country and had the fourth best average goal differential, allowing two goals or less in 18 of the team’s 26 games.

The Avalanche fell to Mid-Fairfield, 2-1, on October 3.

The Avalanche will close pool play with a matchup with the Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede, the 14th ranked team in the tournament, according to MyHockeyRankings.com. The Jr. Stampede finished the season at 38-15-6, ranking 37th in the country. The Jr. Stampede swept Team North Dakota to win the Northern Plains District Championship. The team played a competitive schedule in its first season, claiming tournament victories at a SuperSeries AAA event and a North American Prospects Hockey League event. Team captain, Vitaliy Novystkyy has signed a North American Hockey League tender for the 2016-17 season.

The Avalanche and Sioux Falls did play each other in the regular season.

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