PLYMOUTH, Mich. — New England Hockey Journal attended the USA Hockey Tier 1 Nationals 15 Only division games at USA Hockey Arena here Friday and saw a strong representation of talent from the 2006 birth year.
Mount Saint Charles, ranked No. 1 nationally for the entire season, went 3-0, beating Team Alaska on the third day to secure their spot in the quarterfinals. The team, coached by Scott Gainey and Jim Creamer, is talented and deep at all positions. Led by elite center James Hagens, who is expected to join the 2022-23 U.S. National Team Development Program under-17 team, and a top ’06 prospect, the Rhode Island Saints have no shortage of other play drivers who have bright futures ahead of them at the higher levels of the sport.
Jerry Buckley’s Minuteman Flames squad fell to the North Jersey Avalanche, 7-2, and went 0-3 to end their impressive run. They beat the Neponset Valley River Rats in November’s Tier 1 Mass. state championship, also knocking off the favored Cape Cod Whalers in the semifinal, but the challenges of being a split season team going up against a majority of clubs together the full year proved too much for the Bay State entry. Nobles standout Dennis Davidson and several others on the Flames acquitted themselves well in a game that was a one-goal affair in the second period before the Avs blew it open.
In addition to the New England entries, we’ll break down several other games and top performers we witnessed on the final day of round robin play.