The Esmark Stars U18, U16 and U15 teams were in Blaine, MN, this past weekend at the 15th annual NAHL Showcase, while the U14 Stars were in Rochester, NY for the annual ROC Bantam AAA Invitational Tournament.
At the ROC Showcase, the U14 Stars skated to a 2-0-1 division round-robin record, securing the top seed in their division. They opened the tournament skating to a 2-2 tie with the Sylvania North Stars in a divisional crossover game. Esmark's U14 squad then would go on to defeat the Wheatfield Blades (4-1) and Team Maryland (6-0) in divisional play to gain the top spot. Advancing to the Gold quarter-finals, the Stars would drop a 5-1 decision to the Niagara North Stars, the eventual tournament winner. The U14s would played an additional consolation game against the Upper Canada Cyclones and finish the tournament with a 6-3 loss.
The weekend prior to the ROC Invitational saw the U14 Stars in Columbus, OH for a pair of games with Mid-Am rival the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets. The Stars and Blue Jackets split the two game set, with the Jackets grabbing game one, 2-1, and the Stars taking game two, 4-3.
The U14 Stars, 10-3-2-1, next see action in two weeks, Oct. 6-8, as they travel to Detroit for the HoneyBaked/Compuware Tournament.
At the NAHL Showcase, the U15 Stars opened 2017-18 NAPHL league play and finished the four game event 1-3-0-0. They dropped their opening game to Car Shield AAA (out of St. Louis, MO) 6-3. The Stars rebounded in game two, with a 3-2 overtime win over Meijer AAA (out of Lansing, MI). Unfortunately, the Stars ended up on the wrong end of a 4-1 decision to Elite Hockey (out of Northford, CT) and 6-2 to the Alaska AAA club.
The U15 Stars, 4-10-2-0, return to action this Saturday evening (Sept. 30) as they play host to the Wheatfield Blades at 7:30 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena.
Also at the NAHL Showcase, the U16 squad was showcased in four non-NAPHL games and skated to a 2-2-0-0 record. The U16 Stars opened play with an impressive 3-2 win over Compuware, out of the HPHL (High Performance Hockey League). The Stars would drop a 4-1 decision to Team Illinois, also from the HPHL, in game two. In game three, a showcase game with NAPHL rival the Madison Capitols, the Stars dropped a 2-1 decision. The Stars would then even their record and close the event with a 1-0 shutout win over the NAPHL's Everett Silvertips (out of Everett, WA).
The U16 Stars (5-5-1-0) also return to action in two weeks, Oct. 6-8, as they likewise travel to Detroit for the HoneyBaked/Compuware Tournament.
Also at the NAHL Showcase, the term for the event for the U18 squad was overtime, as they skated to four straight overtime games. The U18s opened the event with a pair of non-league showcase games with HPHL clubs Compuware and the New Jersey Colonials. Despite outshooting both squads, the Stars would drop both games to both teams in overtime, 3-2 to Compuware and 2-1 to the New Jersey Colonials. The Stars would rebound in game three, as they opened NAPHL league play with a 2-1 overtime win over Shattuck St. Mary's (out of Fairbault, MN). Esmark closed the event with their second NAPHL game and fourth event overtime thriller, this time versus league new comer the Sioux Fall Stampede (3-2). This one was forced to go to a shootout after a a 2-2 tie in regulation sent the game to overtime where the two clubs remained scoreless during a four minute 3-on-3 overtime session. Sioux Falls captured the win in the fourth round of the sudden-death shootout. The U18 Stars ended the event with an overall record of 1-0-0-3, but were 1-0-0-1 in NAPHL play .
The U18 Stars (7-5-0-3) also return to action in two weeks, Oct. 6-8, as they travel to Detroit for the HoneyBaked/Compuware Tournament.
The NAPHL was a feature attraction of the 15th annual NAHL Showcase and the opening event of the 2017-18 season. This one-of-a-kind league event attracted over 10,000 people in overall attendance, including more than 300 junior, NCAA and NHL scouts.
For the 2017-18 season, each NAPHL 18U team will play 18 regular season games, each NAPHL 16U team will play in 17 regular season games, and each NAPHL 15U team will play nine regular season games.