Sixteen top teams will convene in Green Bay, Wisconsin to determine who is the USA Hockey Tier I National Champion at the 14U division. The field has been broken into four groups of four teams. Each team will play the three teams in their group and then the top two seeds will move to the quarter finals. Here is how we see it all breaking down.
Boston Jr. Terriers
Shattuck St. Maryâ€™s
In pool A we like Shattuck St. Maryâ€™s to go undefeated and the Buffalo Regals to come in second, earning a spot in the quarterfinals. Buffalo is a very underrated team and they shouldnâ€™t be. Watch out for this team.
Right now Belle Tire is playing the best hockey of any team at this level in our opinion. They should be able to cruise through this pool of teams to earn a spot in the quarterfinals. We like the Colorado Thunderbirds to earn the second spot, which would be a bit of an upset. They are one of the lower ranked teams in the tournament but this is a team that is a lot better than most people think.
Mid Fairfield Yankees
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite
St. Louis Blues
This will be a very tough division. The Mission is the likely favorite, but all of these teams are capable of beating each other. We will go with the St. Louis Blues knowing that both Mid Fairfield and Pittsburgh can make us look stupid. The Blues have been more consistent than the other teams. While Mid Fairfield holds a win over Shattuck, they suffered a 10-0 loss to the Mission and it may just be a bad match up.
Oakland Jr. Grizzlies
LA Jr. Kings
Carolina Jr. Hurricanes
We like the Jr. Grizzlies here as these opponents will be hard pressed to stop Andrew Andary and Brenden Stanko. Jake Transit is also going to be a handful. The Jr. Hurricanes are our pick to earn the second spot in the quarterfinals from this pool. This is a good team and we expect them to bounce back from the 1-0 loss to Thunder Hockey, which forced the Jr. Canes to get an at-large bid.
Quarterfinal Match Ups-
Shattuck St. Maryâ€™s vs. St. Louis Blues- Shattuck will be to much to handle and the goaltending of David Tomeo will help move Shattuck into the semi finals.
Belle Tire vs. Carolina Jr. Hurricanes- Belle Tire will just be too strong, led by Ivan Lodnia and Alex Chmelevski. The Hurricanes are tough but this is where the run will come to an end.
Chicago Mission vs. Buffalo Regals- This will be the first real surprise of the tournament. The Regals are really solid top to bottom and we like them to take this one.
Oakland Jr. Grizzlies vs. Colorado Thunderbirds- the Tbirds are our dark horse team but we doubt they will have enough to get over the hump in this game. The Grizzlies high end players are to good and they have more depth as well. Oakland will move on.
Semi Final Match Ups-
Shattuck St. Maryâ€™s vs. Belle Tire- This game will be a scoutâ€™s delight as some of the very best 1999 players will be playing in this one. You can be sure the NTDP will be watching this game. We have already mentioned some of Belle Tireâ€™s star players and people will certainly be keeping and eye on Scott Reedy, Alex Mella, Logan Hutsko and Josh Maniscalco of Shattuck. We like Belle Tire here, they have been playing great hockey.
Oakland Jr. Grizzlies vs. Buffalo Regals- We will continue to ride our dark horse team, the Regals. Buffalo impressed us greatly when they won the Warrior tournament and we think they will pull this one out.
Belle Tire vs. Buffalo Regals- this is where the Regalsâ€™ magic ride comes to an end. Belle Tire is to strong and playing amazing hockey. We like them to win it all in a close game. This one should be a classic.
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