The U18 Esmark Stars hockey club skated to the tournament championship at the Compuware/HoneyBaked AAA Classic Tournament in Detroit, MI, this past weekend, Oct. 5 - 7.
The U18 Stars opened round-robin play with a 4-4 tie against Mid-Am rival Gilmour Academy. The Stars were paced by forwards Gio Palombo, who scored two goals, and Ty Stewart, who recorded a pair of assists. JT Schmizzi and Billy Rapone netted the other Stars goals, as the 18U club netted three short-handed goals in the game, including two during one penalty kill. Palombo, Schmizzi and Rapone recorded the shorties. Andrew Jacobs, Cole Ferri, Raman Yerameichyk recorded assists. Danny Mitchell stopped 23 of the 27 shots he faced and earned the tie in goal. The two clubs each ended up with 27 shots on goals for the game.
In game two of round-robin, the Stars would pick up a 3-1 win against fellow NAPHL member Meijer AAA. JT Schmizzi would score a pair of goals and Gio Palombo would score a goal and an assist to pace the scoring for the Stars. Jackson Dobbs (2), Andrew Jacobs, Raman Yerameichyk and Blake Rossi recorded assists. Parker Rey stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced and earned the win in goal, as the Stars outshot Meijer 29-18 for the game.
The final game of round-robin play, and a chance to earn a spot in the Gold Playoffs, would see the Stars skate to win (2-1) over the Northern Cyclones. The Stars would pepper the Cyclones goalie, as they outshot the Cyclones 39-22 for the game. But it would take a late third period goal from Blake Rossi to seal the deal and clinch the bracket number one seed. Olda Virag scored the other Stars goals, while Cole Ferri, Dustin Geregach and JT Schmizzi recorded assists. Danny Mitchell stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced and earned the win in goal.
Advancing as their bracket's number one seed, the Stars drew a rematch with Meijer AAA in the Gold Division quarter-finals. The Stars would claim a hard fought (2-1) win over their fellow NAPHL member, as JT Schmizzi and Dustin Geregach would each score in the second period and erase an early 1-0 Meijer lead. Geregach's goal, the game winner, would come on the power-play. Jackson Dobbs (2), Gio Palombo, and Cole Ferri recorded assists. Parker Rey stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced and earned the win in goal, as the Stars outshot Meijer 22-20 for the game.
In the semi-finals, the 18U Stars faced the host club HoneyBaked and skated to a 3-1 win. Raman Yerameichyk, Anton Kozitskiy (goal and an assist) and Tyler Stewart would score the Esmark goals. While Andrew Jacobs (2) and Olda Virag added helpers. Danny Mitchell stopped 14 of the 15 shots he faced and earned the win in goal, as the Stars outshot HoneyBaked 31-15 for the game.
The 18U squad advanced to face fellow Pittsburgh club the Pittsburgh Predators in the Championship game. JT Schmizzi (2 goals, 1 assist), Tyler Stewart (1 goal, 3 assists) and Raman Yerameichyk (1 goal, 2 assists) led the Stars in an explosion of scoring as the Stars skated to an impressive 8-2 win. Olda Virag (1 goal, 1 assist), Gio Palombo (1 goal, 1 assist), Jackson Dobbs, and Blake Rossi also recorded goals for the Stars in the championship game. The Dobbs and Rossi goals were on the power-play. Cole Ferri (2), Andrew Jacobs, Will Studt, Dustin Geregach, Anton Kozitskiy and Lane Ruffner recorded assists. Parker Rey stopped 20 of the 22 Predator shots he faced and earned the win in goal and his third "W" of the tournament as the Stars outshot the Predators 33-22 for the game.
The tournament showing improved the 18U Esmark club's overall record to (12-4-1-1).
The 18U Stars return to the ice Oct. 20-22, in Blaine, MN, for the second NAPHL league showcase of the season.