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Five Michigan teams win USA Hockey national titles

By MAHA Staff, 04/15/17, 7:45PM EDT


Team Copper Country Wins Midget AA National Title
Team Copper Country was pretty banged up during the MAHA state playoffs.

That’s what happens when you’re a split-season squad, with your team going their separate ways to play high school hockey from November through March.

The Copper Country boys came back together in time to reach the MAHA title game, and then they went on a tear in the national tournament, turning their at-large bid into a USA Hockey Midget 18U Tier 2 3A title.

These kids, they got rewarded for their hard work,” said head coach Micah Stipech. “They put in so much work, they compete so hard, they have so much support back home. It feels wonderful.”

The U.P.-based squad posted a 5-2 victory over the Clarence Mustangs at Suburban Ice East Lansing on April 10 to secure their national title. It was an emotional win for a club that featured many players from Calumet High School, which lost in the Division 3 state title game in March.

“This was fresh for them off that loss and that feels good for them, and I hope the coaches that coached them feel like they’re part of this,” Stipech said. “The Houghton players on this team, there are some that also lost a state championship so this feels fantastic.

Compuware Midget Minor Wins 16U Tier 1 National Title
Arthur Kaliyev and Thomas Middleton scored to lead Compuware to the 2017 Tier 1 16U national championship in Pittsburgh.

Chase Johnson allowed one goal on 19 shots to earn the win between the pipes.

"It's been a great week for me personally but more importantly it's been a great week for our team," said Kaliyev, who was led the tournament with six goals, to

"This is the best team I've ever played on. I've never won a national championship before so this is special."

Kaliyev opened the scoring just 45 seconds into the game to score his tournament-leading sith goal, and Middleton extended the lead to two at 4:52 of the frame to give Compuware an early lead.

Though Shattuck St. Mary’s struck back early in the second period, Compuware held on the rest of the way out for a 2-1 victory.

Compuware outscored their opponents 22-6 en route to the 16U crown.

Belle Tire 16U Girls Capture Tier 1 National Championship
The Belle Tire 16U Team was perfect.

They had to be.

Playing close to home in Rochester and Macomb, the MAHA state champions entered the national tournament with the tall task of taking on teams like the Boston Jr. Eagles and the East Coast Wizards.

An undefeated run featured victories over both those clubs - as well as a finals victory over a Pittsburgh Pen Elites team that beat Shattuck St. Mary’s - gave BT a national title on April 10.

“You couldn’t lose a game - you had to have that back-against-the-wall mentality throughout the entire tournament,” Belle Tire head coach Mike Vigilante said to “Thankfully, this was the most coachable group of girls I’ve ever had. They were willing to take on whatever role was given to them.”

Elana Zingas led the way in the points department with six, while Frankie Sanchez was perfect between the pipes; she allowed only three goals in the entire tournament.

Oakland Jr. Grizzlies Win 16U Tier II Title
Make that back-to-back national title wins for the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies Gold squad.

The 2017 edition of OJG Gold won the 2017 16U Tier II 3A title in Frisco, Texas, on April 10, thanks to a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blues.

“From the start of last year, this was what they set out to do,” coach Jason Selleke said to “This really was a great group and they were hoping to finish the season this way. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

It was the Grizzlies’ defensive work that led to another title; the OJG team allowed only six goals over the course of the tournament. They posted two shutouts; Alex Lopez stopped all 17 shots in the title game.

“They really committed to that and making sure we did the right things in our own end,” Selleke said. “I think a lot of times teams and kids can get wrapped up in offense, but they really were strong defensively and that made the difference.”

O’Leary Hawks Win Women’s Senior C National Title
The O'Leary Hawks captured the Women's Senior C national championship in Rochester April 9.

In thrilling fashion, too.

Charlotte Hotaling potted the game-winning goal in overtime to deliver the national crown for the Hawks.

Kalli Bates also scored for the Hawks in regulation, while goaltender Rachel Roach turned aside 36 of 37 shots she faced in the contest.

After a scoreless first two periods, MsConduct Chicago's Jessica Dare scored 9:25 into the third period.

But Bates responded for the Hawks just 4:23 later to even things up.

In overtime and on O'Leary's 34th shot of the game, Hotaling put the game away to capture the title for her squad.