San Jose, Calif. — The Delaware Ducks 18AA team’s run for a second consecutive Chipotle USA Hockey National Championship ended on Sunday afternoon (April 7) at Solar4America Ice at San Jose, when the Alaska Oilers defeated them, 3-2, in overtime of their semifinal matchup.
After running the table in preliminary pool play, the Ducks found themselves at a deficit 10:50 into the first period when Alaska’s Samuel Bourdon scored his first of two goals. The Ducks bounced back to tie late in the second, when Zach Swift put away a Ben Brucker feed with 3:31 left in the frame. Leading scorer J.P. Ahearn gave the Ducks a short-lived 2-1 lead 3:03 into the third period, only for Bourdon to respond for Alaska 42 seconds later and re-tie the game at two.
Ben Martensen’s overtime game-winner ended the Ducks’ championship run and left Troy Stefano with 47 saves on 50 shots faced in defeat. Hannah Hogenson stopped 38 of 40 shots in victory for the Oilers, who take on the Atlanta Phoenix on Monday morning (April 8) for the USA Hockey Tier II 1A title.
A recap of the Ducks’ 18AA and 16AA teams’ preliminary games at their respective USA Hockey National Championships follows.
Delaware Ducks 18AA
Game 1: Delaware 11, Portland 0
In Thursday afternoon’s (April 4) first round of pool play at Solar4America Ice in San Jose, Calif., the Delaware Ducks obliterated the Portland Jr. Winterhawks, 11-0.
Zach Swift led the Ducks with five goals and two assists, while Colin Stead recorded a hat trick, J.P. Ahearn notched two goals and two assists, and Ryan Spanier scored a goal as well.
Goalie Troy Stefano stopped all 30 shots he faced while Portland netminder Joseph Dale was peppered with 70 shots, saving 59 in defeat.
Game 2: Delaware 6, Park City 2
The Ducks proved victorious again on Friday evening (April 5), setting the tone late in the first period and edging away to a 6-2 win over the Park City Ice Miners.
With 1:25 left in the first period, Michael Irey put the Ducks on the board with his first of two goals in the game, before Alex Maglio (DMA) and defenceman Paul Army (Appoquinimink) extended the Ducks’ lead to 3-0 late in the second.
Irey kept Delaware’s momentum alive 1:31 into the third period with his second of the game before Park City’s Ethan Eder became the first to beat Delaware goalie Troy Stefano at 4:13. Alex Maglio re-extended the Ducks’ lead to 5-1 with his second goal of the game just 45 seconds later, followed by Kaden Boots’s first tournament goal a minute later.
Down 6-1 with 11 minutes to go, the Ice Miners pulled goalie Alex McMicken in favour of Hunter Stewart, who was flawless in stopping all 19 shots he faced. On the other end of the ice, Dohnavon Jacobson’s goal with 18 seconds left proved too little and much too late for Park City.
Stefano saved 29 of 31 shots he faced to improve to 2-0 on the tournament. With the win, the defending national champions clinched a spot in Sunday’s semifinals.
Game 3: Delaware 9, Alaska Wolves 1
The Delaware Ducks concluded pool play with a 3-0-0 record after a 9-1 rout of the Alaska Wolves on Saturday evening (April 6).
Again, the Ducks opened fire early and often, recording 52 shots on the Wolves’ goaltending tandem of Will Simpson and Ryan Gray.
Zach Swift, Jonny Schwarz and Alex Maglio each scored two goals, while Aidan Smith and defencemen Blayden Reid and Dylan Johnson (Salesianum) each found the back of the net once as well.
Troy Stefano recorded 34 saves on 35 shots faced, improving his National Championship save percentage to a gaudy .969.S
Delaware Ducks 16AA
Game 1: Oklahoma City 4, Delaware 2
The Ducks fell to the Oklahoma City Oil Kings on Thursday afternoon (April 4) at the Children’s Star Health Center, 4-2, unable to recover in the third after giving up four second-period goals — three of them in the final four minutes of the frame.
After Oklahoma City’s Ben Mullen and Delaware’s Braedon Dougherty (DMA) traded power-play goals, the Oil Kings went on a tear late in the second. Gael Elizondo gave the Kings the go-ahead goal with 3:43 left in the period before Trey Bowers beat goalie Dylan Hadley twice to extend the Kings’ lead to 4-1.
Thirty seconds into the third, Graham Kline (St. Mark’s) brought the Ducks back to within two after assisting on Dougherty’s power-play goal, but the Ducks were kept scoreless by Oklahoma City goalie Noah Goodwin for the remainder of the game. In all, Goodwin stopped 22 of 24 shots he faced while Delaware netminder Dylan Hadley (Appoquinimink) recorded 19 saves on 23 shots.
With 5:58 remaining, an altercation between Dougherty and the Kings’ Cache Bullard resulted in both being issued game misconducts.
Game 2: Charleston 3, Delaware 1
On Friday (April 5), the Ducks came out of the gates strongly, only to be shut down by the Charleston Jr. Stingrays, 3-1, and eliminated from contention for a semifinal berth.
Despite Braedon Dougherty needing only 21 seconds to beat Stingrays goalie Blake Mons off a Graham Kline assist, the Ducks were limited to 16 shots while Charleston fired 35 on Dylan Hadley.
Two of Charleston’s goals came on power plays; Delaware penalty trouble availed the Stingrays nine man-advantage opportunities. Hunter Morgan potted the equaliser on the Stingrays’ first such power play at 4:45, and Marco Pineda likewise scored on a man advantage with 68 seconds left in the game to build on Ryan McGovern’s even-strength game-winning goal taken with 83 seconds remaining in the second period.
In all, Hadley saved 32 shots in defeat while Mons saved 15 of 16 shots.
Game 3: Bozeman 4, Delaware 0
Penalty trouble continued to plague the Delaware Ducks in their third National Championship preliminary game, and they were held scoreless on 20 shots by the Bozeman Icedogs, who proved victorious, 4-0, on Saturday evening (April 6).
The Icedogs capitalised twice on the power play in the second period to edge away from the Ducks. Robert Hartley led with two goals, while Jensen Weatherford and Zachary Stoddart also scored. Dylan Hadley again took the loss in net for Delaware, saving 27 of 31 shots faced.