The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club's Midget AAA squads, U18, U16 and U15, spent this past weekend, Oct. 18-20, in the Motor City and certainly enjoyed their trip to the Detroit, MI, as they participated in the Detroit Motown Classic Hockey Tournament.
All three Esmark teams advanced through their respective teams quarter-finals and into the semi-finals, with the U16 Stars advancing to their bracket championship and the U18 Stars skating to the U18 AAA division championship.
The U15s skated through round-robin play undefeated as they defeated the Chicago Jets, 3-0, and the U16 SISU Thunderbirds, 6-0, on Friday, and the North Carolina-based Rogue Warriors, 6-1, on Saturday morning. Saturday evening, the Stars, division number one seed, and Warriors, wild card, met again in a quarter-final game. The Stars captured the rematch 7-0 to advance to the division semi-finals.
Unfortunately, the U15s run at the tournament came to an end in a 6-2 loss to the Tri-State Spartans in the semi-finals. With their 4-1-0-0 showing at the tournament, the 15U Stars improved their overall record to 11-10-2-0.
The 16Us open the with a pair of games on Friday, as they skated to a 2-1 win over the Tri-State Spartans and dropped a 2-0 defeat to MDHL. On Saturday, the 16U Stars earned a 7-0 walk-over win against Elgin Middlesex to advance as their division's number two seed to the division's quarter-finals where they would skate past the Pittsburgh Predators 4-2 on Saturday evening.
On Sunday, the U16 Stars skated to a 5-3 win over Michigan Hockey Advancement to advance to the U16 AAA division championship game and a game with Canadian the powerhouse Vaughn Kings, who were undefeated. The Kings would prevail in a tight 3-1 game and deny the U16 Stars the championship crown. With their 3-1-0-0 showing at the tournament, the 16U Stars improved their overall record to 13-4-0-0.
On Friday, the 18Us open the schedule with a 1-1 tie against the Amherst Knights in the afternoon and a 6-1 evening defeat of Canadian prep school Okanagan Hockey Academy - Ontario. They would close round-robin play on Saturday, with a 1-0 shut-out of Michigan Hockey Advancement.
Advancing as the number two seed in the U18 AAA bracket, the Stars drew the wild card Buffalo Regals in the quarter-finals Saturday night and skated to a 3-1 win.
On Sunday, the U18 Stars and Team Illinois hooked up in a division semi-final with the Stars prevailing 3-2 in an overtime / shootout that was tied 2-2 after regulation and five minutes of overtime. The Stars Corbin Ragno and Dalton Swartz scored on the third and fourth shot of the shootout that saw the Stars prevail in a sudden death shootout post a three-man shootout that was knotted at one goal each. Connor Strobel denied the TI fourth shooter to back-stop the win.
In the 18U AAA Championship Game, the 18U Stars skated to a 4-2 win over the Canadian club Kingston Jr. Gales, the division's number one seed, who had been undefeated skating into the championship game. With their 5-0-1-0 showing at the tournament, the 18U Stars improved their overall record to 14-1-3-2 overall record.