Release Date : 03/05/2017
WEST CHESTER, PA – The North Jersey Avalanche won the Atlantic Youth Hockey League’s inaugural 15-Pure Championship at the 2017 AYHL Playoffs.
The Philadelphia Junior Flyers (16U American) and the New Jersey Colonials (18U National Elite) were also crowned champions. The Avalanche also earned the league’s first 18U American crown, and the organization’s number one-ranked 18U National Premier team also earned an AYHL championship.
Three goals in a ten-minute span turned the tide of the game. Michael Posma (Pomona, N.Y.) tied the game, 4:35 into the second. Alex Laferriere (Chatham, N.J.) and Kenny Riddett (Fishkill, N.Y.) extended the North Jersey lead to 3-1 at the intermission.
Steven Spetz (Oak Ridge, N.J.) and Tucker Forte (Pipersville, Pa.) exchanged third-period goals to provide the final 4-2 margin. Branch rebounded after allowing the game’s first goal to make 17 saves over the final periods to earn the victory. Hunter Thomas (Schwenksville, Pa.) made 22 saves for the Flyers.
After Nicholas Gardyasz (Medford, N.J.) trimmed the Virtua deficit to one, Benjamin Meisinger (West Chester, Pa.) responded for the Flyers to reclaim the two-goal advantage. Washkalavitch and Wood would each score their second goal of the game to provide the final margin.
Despite allowing five goals, Virtua’s Griffin Conroy (Moorestown, N.J.) made 35 saves, including 11 in the final period as Virtua attempted to mount a comeback.
Pierre LaMonica (River Edge, N.J.) netted a pair of goals for the Avs, including the game-tying goal just 16 seconds before Corvelli’s heroics.
Maryland’s Aaron Greene (Kensington, Md.) and LaMonica scored six seconds apart in the second period to open the game’s scoring. Evan Yamaguchi (Frederick, Md.) gave Maryland a one-goal edge, sliding the puck past Kenton Kim (New York, N.Y.) with under six minutes to play.
With the Avalanche attempting to tie the game, North Jersey fired puck after puck on Maryland netminder Dominic Basse (Alexandria, Va.), who was up to the task until LaMonica’s second goal of the game. Basse finished the game with 48 saves.
Derek Golkin (Freehold, N.J.), Michael Sacchi (Washingtonville, N.Y.), and T.J. Hawkins (Manahawkin, N.J.) also had goals for the Colonials, who claimed a championship at the 18U level for the first time in the modern era.
C.J. Hapward (West Caldwell, N.J.) earned the victory in net, making 26 saves, including several under heavy pressure in the waning moments of the final period after Zach Hanaway (Glenmoore, Pa.) brought the Minutemen to within one at 15:26.
Mark Tosti (Newtown, Pa.) and Jeff Gratz (Elkins Park, Pa.) also had goals for Valley Forge, who was behind 3-1 at the intermission.
C.J. McGee (Pearl River, N.Y.), Timothy Clifton (Farmingdale, N.J.), and Tyler Riddle (Springfield, Pa.) scored in the opening stanza as the Avalanche peppered Mitchell Gibson (Phoenixville, Pa/Harvard) with 24 shots on goal in an attempt to avenge last season’s overtime loss to the Junior Flyers.
Michael Muschitiello (St. James, N.Y.) extended the lead to 4-1 and Riddle added his second as the Avs opened a 5-2 lead at the intermission. Corey Clifton (Matawan, N.J.) added a late goal in the third for the final Avalanche tally.
Edward (Teddy) Fitzgerald IV (Haverford, Pa,) finished with a goal and an assist for the Flyers and Gibson finished with 38 saves. Justin Robbins (Alpine, N.J.) made 10 saves in earning the win.
The Atlantic Youth Hockey League is the USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier I AAA youth hockey league of the Atlantic District. From Connecticut to Maryland, the AYHL’s membership is comprised of over 100 teams, representing four districts, and is spread across six playing divisions. The AYHL’s mission is to develop young players with competition, fun, and good sportsmanship, and move them on to the next phase of their hockey career. With a distinguished alumni list of players that spent a portion of their playing career in the AYHL, today’s players choose to play in the AYHL knowing that it is a proven stepping stone for those serious in their hockey pursuits.