Ice Hogs upset Rink Rats to advance to youth hockey championship
The Meeks Ice Hogs saved their most important performance for last. Rather, Devyn Hotho saved her most important performance.
Hotho, 9, scored a personal-best six goals — a double hat trick — in the Ice Hogs’ surprise 8-5 upset of the No. 2-seeded Rink Rats in the 11-and-under semifinals Nov. 23.
The victory was the Ice Hogs’ first all year and it came at just the right time.
The Hogs finished the season in third place. Now, with with a record of 1-6-1 overall, they face the undefeated Whatford Whalers (7-0-1) for the championship Saturday at 8:15 a.m.
“It’s going to be really tough,” said Hotho, the league scoring runner-up. “Our goalie has gotten really good … If he has an outstanding game, we will beat this team.”
The Ice Hogs’ goalie Jacob Trapp, 8, is new to hockey this year. Luckily, Hotho said, the Hogs’ head coach used to be a goalie, so Trapp has improved a lot.
Plus, the Ice Hogs have the added benefit of Austin Hoyt, 11, and Angela Nelson, 11, who play defense. Both players play with Hotho on the 13-and-under Avalanche.
But the Whalers boast league scoring leader Cooper Stanley, 10, who also plays for the 13-under Sharks, a team that will battle the top-seeded Kings in the championship. Stanley racked up 20 goals and five assists in the regular season for the Whalers. They finished league play at 7-0-1, tying only the Rink Rats. The Whalers also have Kohl Zeek and Jordan Devlin on offense, and the league-leading goaltender Ty O’Neil.
In the 13-and-under division, the Sharks (4-2-1) defeated the Avalanche 11-0 in the semifinals, securing their right to battle the first-place Kings (6-1-1) in the finals. They play Saturday at 9:45 a.m.
Ross Kelly, 12, led the Sharks, scoring six goals, including a short-handed goal in the second period. Mason Stanley and Cooper Stanley also had three assists each.
Goalkeeper Ty O’Neill stopped seven shots to earn the shutout.
The 13-and-under championship promises to be a strong confrontation. Both teams have beaten each other in the past and tied as well.
In the 17-and-under division the Capitals defeated the Penguins 8-2 to advance to the finals against the Rangers.
The Capitals’ Kyle Kracht scored a hat trick, which included a shorthanded goal in the second period.
The Capitals (4-4-0) take on the 8-0 Rangers on Sunday at 9:15 a.m.
The Rangers have a lot of weapons with Derek and Dustin Zastre, Mark Sassi and Steven and Chris Wear occupying the top five spots in league scoring. The Capitals are right behind them with Brandon Lewis, Michael Trute and Evan Sarosik, but they’re clearly facing a tough battle.
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