“We are looking forward to participating in the state tournament and hope for a deep run.” — Adam Carpenter, head coach of the Marquette RMS Junior Wildcats Squirt AA team that clinched the district title on Sunday
MARQUETTE — Two of three Marquette junior hockey teams competing in district youth hockey tournaments over the weekend have qualified for the state finals in March.
Lakeview Arena hosted Michigan Amateur Hockey Association district tournaments at the Squirt AA 10-and-under level along with Pee Wee AA 12-under and Bantam AA 14-under. These were essentially Upper Peninsula endgames.
Marquette, Houghton-Hancock, and Calumet each entered the tournaments with one team, with the winner advancing to the States, which each have eight teams.
In one instance, Bantam AA, two UP teams were actually forced to advance because the Houghton-Hancock Portage Lake association hosts the state tournament and is automatically given a spot to host, according to Marquette Bantams head coach Jon Nebel.
The Marquette Junior Wildcats, in the case of the American Legion Post 44-sponsored Bantams, won both games and earned their district title.
The same happened for the RMS Wildcats in Squirt AA, where the Marquette team won both games to continue.
The Pee Wee AA Superior Hockey Wildcats narrowly missed out on victory as Portage Lake advanced to a 1-0 win in their tournament finals on Sunday.
Here are more details on each division provided by Nebel and the other Marquette trainers:
Inject AA – 10U
Marquette on Friday and Portage Lake on Saturday each won their opening games with shutouts over Calumet and set up Sunday’s deciding game against each other.
The RMS Junior Wildcats prevailed 6-3 as Marquette’s Asher Sandstrom netted his second hat-trick of the weekend and Hannah Ayotte netted the win.
“Our team played a great ice hockey weekend and defensively we missed very few scoring chances,” That’s what RMS head coach Adam Carpenter said. “The coaching staff is very proud of our entire team.
“We are looking forward to participating in the state tournament and hope for a deep run.”
In earlier action, Marquette defeated the Calumet Junior Kings 7-0 on Friday when Sandstrom was assisted by teammate Mason Mills as both had hat tricks. Liam Wentz earned the goalie shutout.
On Saturday, the Portage Lake Flyers lost Calumet 9-0.
Carpenter said the state finals will take place March 4-6 and will be hosted by the Kensington Valley Hockey Association in Brighton state.
Pee Wee AA – 12U
The Superior Hockey Junior Wildcats were vying for the district title in the finals when the PL Flyers won 1-0 when Marquette goalie Jacob Geller stopped 28 of 29 shots.
Further details of the game were unavailable as Marquette challenged Pat’s Foods AA’s No. 1 team in the state, who went into the weekend with a 32-5-1 record.
Superior Hockey, now 25-18-2, got off to a rousing start with a 10-1 win over Calumet on Friday as Cooper Andresen, Easton Bal and Tyler Matulewicz all scored twice and Mason Swenor stopped nine of ten shots on goal.
Wyatt Shunk, Caleb Aho, Henry Kruger and Mason Hartz each had a goal for the winners, while Shunk also had a playmaker with three assists.
Aho added two assists while Andresen and Kruger had one assist each.
No result was available for the game between Portage Lake and Calumet on Saturday.
Bantam AA – 14U
The American Legion Junior Wildcats effectively sealed their place in the state tournament with a 7-0 win over Calumet on Friday, but a 9-1 win over PL on Sunday gave Marquette his coveted UP Championship.
The Legion Wildcats, improved to 37-8-2, will play the MAHA State Tournament in Houghton and Hancock March 11-13, according to Nebel.
On Saturday, PL defeated Calumet 3-2.
Against the Calumet Junior Kings, Landon Carpenter, the top scorer of the Marquette season, again led by two goals, his second goal, which was also the team’s final goal, coming from a man down.
Carpenter also had a playmaker with three assists on Legion’s first three goals, all in the opening stages.
Kyle Moyer and Seth Sandstrom each added a goal and two assists, while Owen Potulny and Nolan Bink both had a goal and an assist.
Also for Marquette, Brody Sheldon scored while Brody LeMire, Mason Lautenschlager and Braydon O’Dovero also received an assist.
Marquette goalie McCullen Hayes stopped every shot he faced to shutout as the Wildcats held a 32-15 shot lead.
In the game against the Portage Lake Flyers, Potulny managed his three-goal hat-trick while Moyer was more than a playmaker with four assists.
Moyer also had two goals to boot.
Sheldon, Carter Berling, and Lucas Belkowski also scored for Marquette, while Sandstrom, Bink, and Carpenter had two assists each, and LeMire and Lucas Reamer had one assist each.
Surprisingly, PL came on the board first after less than three minutes with an unassisted goal from Hudson Markham, although the Legion needed less than four minutes to take the lead after quick goals from Potulny and Sheldon.
Marquette scored three goals in each period.
Parker Nevenhoven netted the win, stopping 30 shots from 31, while the Legion passed PL goalkeeper Kasen Helminen with 32 shots.
Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is [email protected]