After its successful season-opening Midget Showcase Series event in Minnesota in September, the North American Hockey League followed that up with another scout-frenzied tournament last week the Summit Center in Chesterfield, Mo.
“We knew this would be a terrific event, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t exceed our expectations,” said NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “The scout presence was outstanding, and we received a lot of positive feedback from the teams because of it.”
Chicago Mission was crowned champions of the U18 division, while the Mercer Chiefs skated away with the U16 title as dozens of junior, college and professional scouts looked on during the four-day tournament.
Mission skated to a perfect 6-0 record on its way to the championship, starting with a 6-1 win over Pikes Peak. It followed that up with wins over the Mahoning Valley Phantoms (5-3), California Stars (7-2), Affton Americans (6-1) and Colorado Thundebirds (4-1) before disposing of the St. Louis Jr. Blues in the finals, 3-2.
All-tournament forward Danny Fazekas led Chicago in scoring with five goals for 10 points in the six contests, while all-tournament goaltender Jeff Teglia picked up five of Mission’s six wins in net.
The Chiefs wrapped up the tournament with a 5-1 mark. They opened with triumphs over the San Jose Jr. Sharks (4-1) and the Rocky Mountain Wranglers (5-1) before falling to the Texas Attack, 4-2. Mercer rebounded with wins over TPH Thunder (3-1) and the St. Louis Jr. Blues (1-0) before taking down the Attack in championship game in a shootout, 4-3.
"I thought it was a great tournament," said Mercer coach Chris Barcless. "It was well run with very good officiating. The exposure for the kids and the amount of scouts at each game was great. It's a tournament that I would recommend and definitely return to."
All-tournament forward Terry Wallin led the Chiefs' offensive charge with five goals for seven points, and all-tournament goaltender Brandon Delibero fashioned a 4-1 record between the pipes, including a shutout.
Mission's Chris Peters was awarded a pair of skates from Southern Sports Supply after being named the U18 division's Top Defenseman, while U16 Top Defenseman Rich Flocco, of Mercer, received a pair of gloves from SSS.
The tournament's Top Goaltenders, Teglia and Delibero, were awarded leather jackets courtesy of Sherwood.
The third and final event of the season's NAHL Midget Showcase Series will be held February 15-18 at the Ice Cube in conjunction with the NAHL's Top Prospects Tournament. A USA Hockey Tier I sanctioned event, the tournament will field twelve (12) teams at the Midget Major level.
Applications, which can be found at nahlmidgetshowcase.com, are still being accepted for the Midget Showcase event, with all teams being notified of their application status by January 1.
U18 All-Tournament Team
Tyler Moor, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Danny Fazekas, Chicago Mission
Matt Gates, Chicago Mission
Chris Peters, Chicago Mission
Brian O'Rourke, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Jeff Teglia, Chicago Mission
U16 All-Tournament Team
Jacob Fallon, Texas Attack
Tarrence Wallin, Mercer Chiefs
Devin Chiappari, California Cougars
Justin Jimenez, Florida Everblades
Rich Flocco, Mercer Chiefs
Brandon Delibero, Mercer Chiefs