PITTSBURGH — Michael Mesic scored twice and Trent Boryszcuk steered aside all 24 shots he faced as Little Caesars skated to a 4-0 victory over Florida Alliance in the USA Hockey 14-U Tier I National Championships at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on April 8 in Cranberry Township, Pa.
After Mesic put Little Caesars up by two 11:17 into the second period, Justin Varner connected 1:11 later to send the the hockey club up 3-0 after two periods of play. Frank Nazar added an empty-net goal assisted by Christian Kosics to ice it in the third period.
The triumph was one of two National Titles for Little Caesars AAA Hockey Club. Established in 1968, the venerable Michigan youth hockey organization also prevailed over the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies in the 16-U National Championship by the same score.
The titles were among 27 USA Hockey National Champions crowned in Tier I, Tier II, Girls, High School, Sled and Adult Divisions from March 28-April 14 at 12 different locations around the country.
“Let’s just start off by saying how special of a group of guys we had in our locker room,” Kosics said after winning the 14-U Tier I National Title. “From team bonding to workout to on-ice training, we had a special group of young men. I am honored to have one of the hardest-working coaching staffs in hockey. Winning a National Championship has bonded us all forever.”
Little Caesars outscored the opposition 35-6, with Mesic striking for a team-leading eight goals and Nazar compiling a team-best 15 points on seven goals and and eight assists in the tournament. Boryszcuk was stellar in between the pipes, halting 92-of-94 shots, posting two shutouts including a 10-0 victory over the Anaheim Jr. Ducks and finishing with a 0.62 goals-against average and .979 save percentage.
“Our team really played great. It was a very tough tournament to win,” Little Caesars’ head coach Brian Felsner said. “I am very happy for our young men as they played all six games solid. We had all three lines and six D contribute, which was the key. Our goalies played awesome and made some big saves. It was an amazing time for our team and Little Caesars organization. Our team is forever linked together with a National Championship.”
Varner (6-2-8), Kosics (1-4-5), Tucker Shedd (1-6-7) and Camron VanSickle (3-3-6) were among seven different players with at least five points in the tournament for Little Caesars.
“This team has been just that the entire year,” assistant coach Oktay Armagan said. “They have earned their way to being ranked No. 1 in the country and completed the task of finishing No. 1 by winning MAHA State Championships and now Nationals.”
“Every player on this contributed in their own way, whether it was a timely blocked shot, penalty kill, huge save or shorthanded goal,” Armagan said. “It was a pleasure to be asked to help at practices and games throughout the season and now to be on the bench at Nationals. Thank you to Brian Felsner and the Little Caesars organization. What a great memory my son and I were able to share will never be forgotten.”
2019 USA Hockey National Champions
Youth Tier I
FINAL — Little Caesars 4, Florida Alliance 0 BOX SCORE (14-U)
FINAL — Pittsburgh Penguins Elite, 2, Yale Bulldogs 1 BOX SCORE (15-O)
FINAL — Little Caesars 4, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 0 BOX SCORE (16-U)
FINAL — Central Connecticut Selects 3, North Jersey Avalanche 2 (OT) BOX SCORE (18-U)
Youth Tier II
FINAL — Atlanta Fire Elite 2, Kansas City Mavericks 1 BOX SCORE (14-U 1A)
FINAL — Carolina Jr. Hurricanes 3, Team South Dakota 0 BOX SCORE (14-U 2A)
FINAL — Chesterfield Hockey Association 4, Canton 3 BOX SCORE (14-U 3A)
FINAL — Vegas Jr. Golden Knights 2, Atlanta Jr. Kings 1 BOX SCORE (16-U 1A)
FINAL — Anchorage North Stars 4, McKinney North Stars 3 BOX SCORE (16-U 2A)
FINAL — Cheektowaga 5, Falcons Hockey Association 4 BOX SCORE (16-U 3A)
FINAL — Atlanta Phoenix 5, Alaska Oilers 0 BOX SCORE (18-U 1A)
FINAL — Maine Moose 6, Mission Red 3 BOX SCORE (18-U 2A)
FINAL — Team Ohio 5, Minnesota Moose 4 BOX SCORE (18-U 3A)
Girls Tier I
FINAL — Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 4, Little Caesars 3 BOX SCORE (14-U)
FINAL — Chicago Mission 2, Rochester Youth Hockey 0 BOX SCORE (16-U)
FINAL — Boston Jr. Eagles 2, Shattuck-St. Mary’s 1 BOX SCORE (19-U)
Girls Tier II
FINAL — North Shore Vipers 5, Boston Jr. Eagles 3 BOX SCORE (14-U)
FINAL — Vermont Shamrocks 5, Baldwin/Riverfalls Black Cats 0 BOX SCORE (16-U)
FINAL — Boston Jr. Eagles 6, Concord Capitals 1 BOX SCORE (19-U)
FINAL — Santa Margarita Catholic 4, Edina Junior Gold A 1 BOX SCORE (D-1)
FINAL — Boulder/Monarch 7, Burrell HS Bucs 1 BOX SCORE (D-II)
FINAL — Team Texas 10, Minnesota Dynamo Black 0 BOX SCORE (Girls)
Written by John Christian Hageny / @JCCSPORTS
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