The 2013 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament wrapped up on Wednesday at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, Michigan. Three games were played on the final day and at the end of the event, three teams (Frontier, Texas and Midwest) were all tied with 2-1-0 records. Since all teams did not play one another, goal differential was used to determine an eventual Champion. When the smoke cleared, the Frontier team had a +5 goal differential, which edged out the +4 goal differential of Texas, even though Texas handed Frontier their only loss of the event.
It was another successful event in terms of a presence from scouts and the feedback that come back from them about the level of competition and the talent of the players. Once again, the NAHL 18U Selects team was a huge success, with the brightest young stars of the NAHL posting a 1-1-1 record, narrowly missing the Top Prospects crown.
Texas 7 vs. Dakota 3 – Amarillo’s Gage Christianson had a hat-trick and Conor O’Neil (Wichita Falls), Lawrence Cornellier (Fairbanks) and Justin Greenberg (Texas) all had three-point games as Texas jumped out a 4-0 lead on their way to a convincing 7-3 win over Dakota. Bismarck’s Patrick Moore had two goals in the losing effort for Dakota. Kyle Bauman (Wichita Falls) and Christianson scored in the 1st period to make it 2-0 for Texas. Christianson and O’Neil increased the lead to 4-0 early in the 2nd period before Dakota was able to stop the bleeding with goals from Moore and Minot’s Jadin Martin. O’Neil added his second right before the end of the 2nd period, sending Texas into the 2nd intermission with a 5-2 lead. In the 3rd period, Moore scored to draw Dakota to within two at 5-3, but goals from Zane Popilock (Odessa) and Christianson’s third secured the win. The goalie combination of Paul Berrafato (Amarillo) and Hayden Stewart (Corpus Christi) combined to make 40 saves in the win for Texas.
Frontier 5 vs. NAHL 18U Selects 4 – A three point game from Kenai River’s Zac Lazzaro led the Frontier team to a 5-4 win over the 18U Selects. 18U defenseman Jalen Schulz of the Corpus Christi IceRays had two goals in the losing effort. Frontier got on the board first on a goal from Kyle Sucher (Fresno). Early in the 2nd period, Brandon Hawkins (Texas) tied the game for the 18U selects with his 3rd goal of the tournament. A couple minutes later it was Wenatchee’s Chris Kerr giving Frontier a 2-1 lead. JB Baker (Johnstown) tied the game at 2-2, but minutes later Lazzaro struck for his first goal to make it 3-2 Frontier at the 2nd intermission. Schulz scored the first of his two early in the 3rd period, but that was immediately answered by Lazzaro’s second goal and then another from Kenai River teammate Brad Duwe. Schulz scored midway through the period after a nice effort from Mason Morelli (Minot), but the 18U Selects could not get the game tied in the final moments.