Blue Devils win first national title in MHA history
With a 3-0 win over the Affton (Mo.) Americans on Sunday, April 1 in Ashburn, Va., the Mustang Hockey Association’s Blue Devils PeeWee Tier II 12-U team became the first national champions in MHA history, according to Reid McDonald, manager of the McDonald Center and longtime member of the Chugiak-Eagle River hockey community.
“Everybody was charged up,” head coach Chris Brunnhoelzl said. “Parents going crazy, kids going crazy.”
Affton handed the Blue Devils, who finished 5-1, their only loss of the tournament in pool play. The Blue Devils gave up too many odd man rushes in the 6-3 defeat and were more prepared the second time around, Brunnhoelzl said.
“We figured out what they were doing and countered those guys,” he said.
Blue Devils’ netminder Trent Burnham keyed the victory with 35 saves in the Tier II 2A national title game, Brunnhoelzl said.
“Trent Burnham played out of his mind,” he said.
Brunnhoelzl said Burnham — who backstopped an 8-0 win in the state title game — has shined all year at critical times.
“He’s got a habit of getting shutouts in the championship game,” Brunnhoelzl said. “That’s a big plus.”
Braden Brunnhoelzl started the scoring with a shorthanded goal in the opening period. Ty McEnaney notched a tally in the second and Nathan Sperry tipped in a shot from the point in the third.
The Blue Devils traveled to Virginia with the goal of earning some hardware, coach Brunnhoelzl said, and their hard work was rewarded.
“It’s well deserved,” he said. “They went down there with a mission and got it done. I’m really proud of them.”
Glacier Bears finish 1-3 at nationals
The Eagle River Glacier Hockey Association’s Alaska Glacier Bears went 1-3 at the Tier II 16-U 2A national tournament in Green Bay, Wis.
The Bears lost 6-2 against the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Komets in their first game March 29, and dropped a 16-3 decision to the Ashburn (Va.) Xtreme just six hours later.
The Glacier Bears defeated Casco Bay (Maine) 3-2 on March 30 before ending the tournament with a 4-1 loss to the Junior Checkers of North Carolina.
The Chesterfield (Mo.) Falcons won the national title 7-3 over the Junior Checkers on April 1.