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Midget 16 National

Regular Season 2020-21

Recent Midget 16 National News

Dignazio powers 15 Pure past Royals; 18U Premier ties #10 Ranked Avalanche

Aston, PA --  The AYHL was back in full swing this past weekend, with the Philadelphia Little Flyers organization competing in 10 total games.

18U National Premier -  David Matousek and Patrick O’Connell led the Little Flyers offense on Saturday, with the two players each registering four point games against the Mercer Chiefs.  Frankie Jirak opened the scoring for the Little Flyers with an unassisted power play goal.  Off of the ensuing face-off, O’Connell and Chris Blango set up Matousek for his first goal of the game.  Mercer evened the score at 2-2 heading into the second period.  Just eighteen seconds into the second, Matt Harris regained the lead for the Little Flyers, courtesy of helpers from Matousek and O’Connell.  Just seventeen seconds after Harris broke the tie, Matousek extended the Little Flyers lead to two, once again hooking up with O’Connell and Blango.  The Chiefs power play got them back into the game, scoring at the 8:54 mark of the second period to get within one.  Three minutes into the third period, the Little Flyers once again extended their lead to two, this time it was O’Connell finsing the back of the net with Matousek and Harris picking up assists on the goal.  The Chiefs never gave up and battled tough in the third period scoring two goals in the final minutes of the game to deadlock the game at 5 apiece.  Neither team was able to find the game winner in overtime, ending the game in a 5-5 tie.

Sunday, the 18U Little Flyers welcomed the North Jersey Avalanche, who are ranked the #10 18U team in the country coming into the game.  For the second game in a row, Frankie Jirak put the Little Flyers up 1-0 early in the first period; TJ Avellino and Chris Blango were credited with assists on the goal.  Matt Harris doubled the Little Flyers lead seven minutes later, with David Matousek and Patrick O’Connell collecting helpers on the goal.  The Little Flyers kept their foot on the gas in the first period as Domenic Gurshman extended the lead to 3-0 Philadelphia right before the end of the first period.  Little Flyers goaltender Hunter Chubb picked up an assist on Gurshman’s goal.

This game was far from over even with the Little Flyers holding a 3-0 lead.  The Avalanche would prove why they are the #10 ranked team in the country, mounting a comeback on the road. Tyler Kopff provided the first Avalanche goal of the game with less than 6 minutes left in the second period.  In the third, Michael Emerson and Tyler Kopff scored goals just three minutes apart to deadlock the game at 3-3.  The two teams exchanged scoring chances back and forth in a high paced, high intensity game, but neither side was able to break the tie.  In overtime, there were plenty of chances to end the game but Hunter Chubb for the Little Flyers and Daniel Antal for the Avalanche came up big as this one ended in a 3-3 tie.  Chubb finished the game with 36 saves for Philadelphia.

18U National Elite – The Little Flyers hosted the New York Saints for a three game weekend series at IceWorks Skating Complex.  In game one, the Little Flyers outshot the Saints 29-19 but had a difficult time solving Saints goaltender Kevin Rose.  The Saints gained an early 1-0 lead with an unassisted Joseph Cole goal.  Five minutes later, Jonathan Anthony responded for the Little Flyers with an unassisted goal of his own to tie the game at 1-1.  The game would remain tied at one until the 11:13 mark of the second period when Joseph Daloisio found Devin Niccoll for the eventual Saints game winner.  Matt Lynch made 17 saves for the Little Flyers in a tough 2-1 loss.

Sunday, Tom Sullivan got the Little Flyers off to a good start, scoring a shorthanded goal with help from Ian Asuncion at the 5:50 mark of the first period.  In the second period, the Little Flyers extended their lead with an Andrew Henry even strength goal courtesy of a Charlie Maratea assist.  The Saints would use their special teams to get back into this game.  First, Joseph Cole scored an unassisted power play goal 2:16 into the third period.  Then five minutes later, Scott Martin tied the game with a power play goal of his own.  The two teams were unable to break the 2-2 in the final minutes of the third period, ending this one deadlocked at two.  Liam Kelly made 22 saves for the Little Flyers in goal.

In the final game of the three game weekend series, Charlie Maratea picked up two primary assists on the only Little Flyers goals of the game.  In the first period, Maratea connected with Ian Asuncion to give the Little Flyers an early 1-0 lead.  The Saints answered back with a Joseph Cole power play goal in the final minutes of the opening period.  The Saints took the lead mid-way through the second period and wouldn’t look back.  The Saints added an even strength goal 1:54 into the third period, followed by a power play goal to take a 4-1 lead.  Maratea and Jonathan Anthony combined to set up a CJ Scott power play goal at the 16:50 mark to get within two of the Saints, but an empty net goal for New York sealed a 5-2 win for the visiting Saints.  Matt Lynch made 28 saves for the Little Flyers in goal.

16U National Elite – In game one of a back-to-back weekend series with the Washington Little Capitals, the two teams played a scoreless first period.  Aidan Petretich broke the scoreless tie to get the Capitals on the scoreboard first.  Washington built off that momentum to score two power play goals to close out the second period.  The Little Flyers scored a power play goal of their own to open the third period when Christian Rapattoni found Nathan Rabadam to cut into the Little Capitals lead.  Brandon Nocabilski made 41 saves for the Little Flyers in net but it was not enough as the Capitals took game one by a final score of 4-1.

In game two, the Little Flyers offense couldn’t find the back of the net despite having a lot of scoring chances; they put 33 shots on goal but couldn’t find the back of the net on Sunday.  Michael Manzi made 36 saves for the Little Flyers in a 7-0 loss.

15 Pure -   Nicholas Dignazio’s three point effort powered the Little Flyers past the Long Island Royals National Premier team in the first of three games on the weekend for Dignazio and the Little Flyers.  Nicholas Fiore connected with Dignazio for the first goal of the game at the 7:56 mark of the first period to take an early 1-0 lead.  The Little Flyers took advantage of a Royal penalty to take a 2-0 lead courtesy of a Kevin Hudak power play goal that was assisted by Dignazio.  Philadelphia’s power play struck again in the second period, this time it was Logan Soster burying a Ryan Brown feed to take a 3-0 lead.  Less than a minute later, it was Dignazio once again for the Little Flyers, this time scoring an unassisted goal, his second tally of the game.  Just after Dignazio had given the Little Flyers breathing room, it was the Royals turn to work the power play and they would take advantage, scoring their first goal of the game to get on the scoreboard.  The Royals added another goal just 3:13 into the third period to cut the Little Flyers lead to two.  In the closing seconds of the game, the Royals added an even strength goal to trail by one, but it was too little too late as the Little Flyers escaped the Royals comeback bid and picked up the win.  Aries Carangi and Christian Amato combined to make 21 saves for the Little Flyers. 

Saturday night brought the Philadelphia Flyers Elite team to town for a showdown with the Little Flyers.  The two teams felt each other out for most of the first period, until Kevin Hudak capitalized on a Little Flyers power play chance, Joseph Samango dished out the only assist on the play.  Two minutes later, Nathan Case tied the game for Flyers Elite.  Less than a minute later, Richie DeFulvio gave Flyers Elite their first lead of the day, scoring an even strength goal.  The Little Flyers wouldn’t wait very long to tie the game, as Nicholas Fiore found the equalizer with a power play goal 1:33 into the second period, Ryan Brown picked up the only assist on the man advantage goal for Fiore.  Midway through the second, the Little Flyers regained the lead, it was once again Dignazio putting the Little Flyers up, with help from Matt Kratchwell and Eric McHale.  Flyers Elite quickly responded, scoring a power play goal two minutes the Little Flyers took the lead.  The two teams battled through a scoreless third period and headed to overtime.  In the extra frame, Robert Scimeca found the game winner for Flyers Elite with just 10 seconds remaining in the game.  Christian Amato made 26 saves in the game for the Little Flyers.

In their second game of the weekend, the Philadelphia Flyers Elite took a quick two goal lead in the first period, scoring two goals 13 seconds apart.  Flyers Elite extended their lead to 3-0 in the opening moments of the second period, but the Little Flyers had a quick response.  Caleb Redman put the Little Flyers on the scoreboard just 9 seconds after the Flyers Elite took their 3-0 lead.  Nicholas Fiore and Kevin Hudak were credited with assists on the Redman goal.  Nicholas Dignazio pulled the Little Flyers to within one in the final minute of the second period, scoring his second unassisted goal of the weekend.  The third period was a tightly contested one with the Little Flyers looking for the game tying goal.  Flyers Elite got some breathing room with less than three minutes to play thanks to an Ean Steidle goal.  Christian Amato made 26 saves in the 5-2 loss.

2008 – The 2008 Little Flyers went 1-2 this past weekend against some tough competition.  In their first game of the weekend, the Little Flyers faced off against the Valley Forge Minutemen National team.  The first period was full of action as six goals were scored between the two teams.  Marcel Nardo put the Little Flyers on the board first, with help from Michael Gravinese.  Valley Forge answered right back a minute later to tie the game at 1-1.  The Minutemen then scored two more goals to go up 3-1.  The Little Flyers bounced back in the closing moments in the period.  First it was Michael Gravinese with an unassisted goal followed two minute later by an Adam Charrafi goal that was assisted by Aiden Delfin.  The two teams headed into the second period tied at 3-3.  Valley Forge’s offense would take over from there, scoring six unanswered goals to take the game by a final score of 9-3.  Sammy Pietropaulo was busy in net for the Little Flyers, making 39 saves.

In game two of the weekend, the Little Flyers offense couldn’t get going.  Marcel Nardo scored Philadelphia’s lone goal against the Little Capitals and Paige Faith made 34 saves in the game but the Little Capitals offense was too much for the Little Flyers Saturday night.

On Sunday, the Little Flyers bounced back in a big way, thanks to Sam Flood.  The Little Caps’ Austin Hayes gave his team the lead in the first period but that would be the extent of Washington’s offense on Sunday.  Flood would handle the offense the rest of the game for both teams.  Just 1:11 into the second period, Flood scored an unassisted goal to even the game at one a piece.  Ten seconds later it was Flood that would strike again, this time with a little help from Paxton Hoishik to give the Little Flyers their first lead of the day.  Down the other end of the ice, Sammy Pietropaulo and the defense would keep the Washington offense in check, despite facing 29 shots, Pietropaulo came up big, making 28 saves in the game.  Early in the third period, Flood delivered the dagger, scoring his third goal of the game and giving the Little Flyers some breathing room, Adam Charrafi was credited with the only assist on Flood’s hat trick goal.




Little Flyers well-represented at Amarillo Bulls camp

07/30/2020, 12:15pm EDT
By Tim Riday

ASTON, Pa. -- If you’re familiar with the Amarillo Bulls, then you already know about their scarlet red, navy blue and gold color scheme.

This past weekend, however, the Bulls got a healthy dose of white, orange and black.

The Philadelphia Little Flyers were well-represented at Amarillo’s main prospect camp, held at IceWorks Skating Complex. Twenty-five PLF members - including current EHL, EHL Premier, Midget 18U, Midget 16U and Midget 15U Pure players - took part in the four-day event from Saturday through Tuesday.

“Any time you can have your players compete in something that’s the next level up for them is a good thing.” Little Flyers EHL and EHL Premier head coach Mark Catron said. “Not only do the coaches get a chance to see them and evaluate them, but it allows our players to realize what it’s going to take to play at the next level. There are always veteran players mixed into the camp that they can compare themselves to.”

Players filling up 10 teams were guaranteed four games during camp. One game was played on Saturday, two on Sunday and one more on Monday. Cuts were made on Monday afternoon to get down to six teams and three more games were held Monday evening. 

“To have the opportunity to participate in the camp means a lot because not only did I get to showcase my play for the Bulls’ coaches and maybe others, but it also prepared me for the up-and-coming season with the Little Flyers,” EHL defenseman Shane Green said. “Having to play fast-paced games against really good competition gets me back up to speed and puts me in a game environment to make me more prepared for the season rather than just having practices.”

Green racked up six goals and 18 assists in 38 EHL Premier games for the Little Flyers in 2019-20. He earned multiple looks on the EHL team, as well, appearing in four games as a call-up.

Fellow PLF junior players Robbie Seewagen, Logan Downs and reigning EHL Premier Goalie of the Year Tyler Cassidy also shined during Bulls camp. Seewagen and Downs each found the back of the net and Cassidy was strong between the pipes.

“I felt like I matched up well out there and competed,” Green said. “Speed and physicality wasn’t an issue for me and I even managed to get a goal and some assists, which was a plus. Overall it was a great experience.”

The games consisted of three, 17-minute periods with a running clock. One referee patrolled the ice and any penalties called led to a shootout attempt on the offending team.

“It was a good opportunity to see how I compared against the Amarillo returners and to get looks from the coaches,” Patrick O’Connell said. “It’s exciting to know a team like the Bulls are watching and considering you for the future.”

O’Connell, who recorded 19 goals and 74 assists in 40 combined AYHL and NAPHL games last season for the 18U team, spent much of camp skating alongside teammate David Matousek. The pair of forwards showcased their chemistry, making crisp passes back and forth and creating plenty of scoring opportunities. 

“It was a lot of fun playing with my teammates,” O’Connell said. “You can use your own chemistry to see how you match up with junior-caliber players. You get a glimpse of what it takes to get to the next level.”

Braedon Dougherty, a defenseman on the 18U Little Flyers team, echoed O’Connell’s sentiment about camp. Although he spent more time on the opposite bench.

“It was a fun experience,” Dougherty said. “Meeting new guys and playing against different guys. I usually don’t play against [my teammates] much but it was fun to defend them because you kind of know what they’re going to do. You pick up their tendencies in practice. I just want to defend properly and make the right plays.”

After cuts on Monday, the games went to a stopped clock and 20-minute periods. Penalized players had to sit for two minutes and special teams were given a chance to show what they could do.

Two All-Star games took place on Tuesday at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Six Little Flyers advanced to play in those games.

“It's a testament to what we're doing here as far as player development goes,” Midget 18U and 15U Pure head coach Dave Dorman said. “The staff that's been brought in, there is buzz and excitement around the organization. It's been a rejuvenated spirit that we're all pretty excited about. To the kids' credit, they are the ones putting in the work and making the commitment and buying into everything we've asked them to do. This is all of that coming to fruition.”

The Bulls’ coaching staff has strong ties to the Little Flyers. Head coach Rocky Russo spent four years as the bench boss of the club's EHL junior team, amassing an impressive 159-34-14-3 record. He also guided his teams to back-to-back regular-season championships, four total EHL South Division championships and was twice named EHL Coach of the Year.

Russo’s assistant coach, George Lewis, spent three seasons with the Little Flyers' junior program as well. Lewis led his EHL team to a 45-10-2 record and advanced to the Frozen Four Finals in his one year as head coach.

Amarillo was 39-10-2-3 and in second place in the South Division standings when the NAHL cancelled the remainder of the 2019-20 season on March 17 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I think it’s great that we have a North American league team doing camp in our rink.” Catron said. “It makes it a lot easier for those kids to be seen by coaches that are not in our area but who control the next level for them and I think that’s always important.”

Extra precautions were taken by IceWorks staff and management with concerns surrounding COVID-19. Players, who had to wear masks when they weren’t on the ice, were permitted to enter the building 15 minutes prior to their ice times and were given access to four locker rooms on separate rinks to properly social distance.

All lockers and player benches were also sanitized in between games. IceWorks Pub and Grille was open in a limited capacity to give some parents a chance to watch the action.

“It helps our kids gain valuable experience, to understand what it takes to play at the next level,” Dorman said. “It really is a mindset. It's great to be a part of it. It also gives us an opportunity to watch some of the local kids that we'll be scouting in the years to come.”