Four members of the Esmark Stars U18 AAA club played prominent roles in helping Team Pittsburgh capture the 2018 America's Showcase St. Louis Tournament in St. Louis, MO.
Forwards Olda Virag and Nick Caretta, defenseman Andrew Jacobs and goaltender Ty Barkley all celebrated the team's 4-3 overtime victory over Team Illinois to claim the championship and close out a 6-0-0-0 run to the tournament title.
Pittsburgh opened the tournament with three regulation wins in round-robin play, skating past Team Missouri Blue (4-2), as Jacobs recorded an assist and Barkley the win in goal; Team New Jersey (7-3), as Jacobs and Virag scored goals; and Team Wisconsin (8-4), as Caretta recorded a goal and an assist and Barkley earned the win in goal.
In quarter-final play, Team Pittsburgh upended Team Missouri White, 7-2, as Caretta recorded a pair of goals and an assist, Virag, two assists, and Jacobs, one assist.
In semi-final action, Team Pittsburgh defeated Team Colorado Burgundy (4-3) in overtime as Virag scored the game winner 6:26 into overtime. Barkley earned the win in goal as he kicked aside 28 of the 31 shots he faced.
In the championship, Nick Caretta sent Pittsburgh home as tournament champions as he netted the game winner 5:23 in overtime on the power play, with an assist from Olda Virag. Earlier in the game, Virag scored a goal with a helper from Caretta. Ty Barkley turned aside 25 of the 28 shots he faced to earn the win in goal.
The Esmark Stars, and its predecessor programs, have always afforded their players an opportunity to compete on both the national Tier I level and the local high school hockey level ... something unique to most area and national Tier I programs.
America's Showcase was founded in 1985 to provide the nation’s premier high school players an opportunity to be scouted by high-level programs so those players who participate may further their hockey careers in prep school, juniors, college, and beyond.
The current five-day showcase consists of boys and girls divisions represented by 24 boys teams and 8 girls teams from across the country that gives scouts opportunities to recruit from the wealth of talent on the ice.
This season the tournament was relocated to St. Louis, MO, and renamed as America's Showcase St. Louis. St. Peter's predecessor Plex served as the home rink.