The Chicago Young Americans won the U18 championship and Little Caesars captured the U16 title at the NAHL Midget Showcase Series Tournament at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minn.
CYA downed the Mahoning Valley Phantoms in the finals, 5-2. Rob Linsmayer tallied a goal and an assist in the win, while Josh Balch and Cody Walsh each recorded two assists. Between the pipes, Steve Papciak turned aside 27 shots.
Chicago finished the event with a perfect 6-0 record with wins over the Texas Attack (4-3), Pittsburgh Hornets (4-3), So Cal Titans (2-0), Little Caesars (3-2) and the San Jose Sharks (4-0).
"I've been coaching hockey for over 25 years and I could say without a doubt this was one of the best tournaments I've ever attended," said CYA U18 coach Bruno Bragagnolo. "The exposure all the teams received was second to none. I've never seen so many scouts and coaches in one building at one time, and obviously our team winning the tournament made it that much nicer."
Bragagnolo was proud of how his charges played the entire weekend.
"Especially being down four regular players due to injury," he said. "The competition was tough - many of the games could of gone either way - but the boys dug deep and found a way to win them.
"It was a complete team effort all weekend with everyone contributing at one time or another. Hopefully, some of them were noticed and will get an opportunity to move on from just this one event."
Little Caesars defeated the Texas Attack, 7-4, in the U16 championship game. Rocco Grimaldi scored two goals and two assists in the finale, with Justin DeMartino netting the game-winning goal and an assist. In goal, Pat Summers made 20 saves.
Little Caesars defeated Victory Honda, 1-0, in the semifinals. It also defeated the Pikes Peak Miners (4-0), Madison Capitols (7-1), So Cal Titans (8-0) and Russell Stover (4-1) to finish the tournament with a 6-0 mark.
Despite the loss, Attack coach Eric Silverman had nothing but good things to say about the tournament.
"Our team had an outstanding experience," said Silverman. "The tournament was very well run and the exposure our kids received was as good as I have seen at a Midget event."
Silverman was also impressed with the scout turnout.
"We had head and assistant coaches from some of the top Division I colleges along with NHL and junior scouts at all of our games," he noted. "I was approached by several scouts about my players and it was a great opportunity for them to get the exposure needed for them to advance to the next level."
Sherwood sponsored 24 sticks for the Midget event, including one to every All-Tournament Team selection. Sherwood also awarded both All-Tournament Team goaltenders a leather jacket.
Every player on the U18 and U16 championship teams left town with a Vapor XXXX knit toque, compliments of Nike/Bauer.
Mahoning Valley's Jacob Carney (six points of five goals) and Linsmayer (six points on four goals) were the top scorers in the U18 division, and Grimaldi finished as the top scorer of the U16 bracket with five goals for 10 points. Each received a Nike/Bauer iD stick for their efforts.
CYA's Matt Kinman was named the U18's top defenseman, while Little Caesars' Saverio Posa copped top defenseman honors in the U16 division. Both were awarded a pair of skates courtesy of Southern Sports Supply.
OT Sports, the official jersey supplier of the NAHL, sponsored logoed practice jerseys to both the Chicago Young Americans and Little Caesars.
U18 ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
G - Steve Papciak, Chicago Young Americans
D – Kyle Van, Mahoning Valley Phantoms
D – Matt Kinman, Chicago Young Americans
F - Rob Linsmayer, Chicago Young Americans
F – Josh Balch, Chicago Young Americans
F – Jacob Carney, Mahoning Valley Phantoms
U16 ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
G – Patrick Summers, Little Caesers
D - Saverio Posa, Little Caesers
D – TJ Sherman, Texas Attack
F – Jacob Fallon, Texas Attack
F – Rocco Grimaldi, Little Caesers
F – Justin DeMartino, Little Caesers