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Northstar 18U wins second straight NAPHL Dixon Cup title

The Northstar U18 team won its second straight NAPHL Dixon Cup title, while the 16U team made a deep run.

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The Northstar Knights won the 18U Dixon Cup title.
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TROY, MI - With a 1-0 lead heading into the final frame on Monday, the U18 Biggby Coffee AAA hockey team had the edge over the U18 Northstar Knights in the Dixon Cup finals of the North American Prep Hockey League.

A goal by defenseman Brian Morse tied things up with 13:39 left in the final frame. Morse then played a part in the game-deciding goal as he and forward Reese Laubach had an assist on a goal by forward Dylan Cook. That gave the Knights a 2-1 win and back-to-back NAPHL Tier I Dixon Cup titles.

“First goal was just something we've been working on a lot these last couple of weeks because we know it's not always pretty in the playoffs,” 18U head coach Rylan Galiardi said. “It was a low to high pass, defenseman Brian Morse had a nice reception and snapped it on net and there was a good screen and it broke the seal for us fortunately.”

The Knights’ second goal came on a 33-second power play with 4:26 left in regulation.

“We actually were shorthanded late, but we drew a penalty to even it out,” Galiardi said. “We got a great one-timer again by Brian Morse that went off of one of our guys in front (Cook). We’re proud of the players and thankful for the program. There's an army of people that are here for our guys and are here to support our players. Local billets, players, families, teachers, founders, people that are financially supporting what we're doing, a lot of people out there doing a lot of small and big things for us.”

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Galiardi said Monday’s win was a culmination of everything.

“I think it validates the training that our guys are doing,” he said. “I think in terms of accomplishments, it's nice, but we're more about the long-term growth of these young men. We're trying to build leaders. We're trying to build future great husbands and future grandfathers, so these are great lessons, great accomplishments and their relationships with each other and the team. So yeah, it's great to grab a trophy, but ultimately it's just another step for these guys.”

Along with Morse and Laubach, forwards Caleb Elfering and Nathan Huntington had assists.

The only goal the Knights allowed in Monday’s contest came in the second period. Biggby forward Max Martin scored on a power play (13:18) on an assist from forwards Zachary Cline and Gavin Duckworth.

Northstar had a 34-21 shot-on-goal advantage. CJ Kier earned the win in net with 20 saves.

The Knights defense shut down the competition in the NAPHL Tier I Playoffs, limiting their opponents to one goal a game.

“I think we were just committed and we were connected,” Galiardi said. “We're committed to playing the right way. We're connected as groups of five with and without the puck.”

To get to the Dixon Cup finals, the Knights cruised past the CarShield AAU team 3-1 on Friday, the Maine Nordiques 4-1 on Saturday and the Tri State Spartans 5-1 on Sunday.

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Galiardi believes this team is one of the deepest in the nation and that the team’s depth helps lead it to success.

“We've got more depth than any team probably in the country,” Galiardi said. “Nobody can put out four forward lines like we can and not have much of a drop off. Ultimately, we have a really strong, deep team. We may not jump out right away, but eventually we will chip away and usually what happens is teams usually can’t hold us off for much longer.”

The Knights will lean on the culture they are trying to maintain as they continue to strive for continued success in the future.

“We always talk about it, it doesn't matter if it's a big game, a little game, if it's a practice, if it's soccer or if it’s a thumb war, we're competitors,” Galiardi said. “We're warriors. So I think we just got to be thankful for every day, be thankful for the opportunity to be a Northstar Knight and continue to sharpen each other. Proverbs talks about iron sharpening iron, that's what we're trying to do every day.”

Up next, the Knights play the Sioux Falls Power on March 4 and 5 on the road.

18U Box Scores:

CarShield - 0 0 1 - 1

Northstar - 1 1 1 - 3

SHOTS - CarShield - 3, 7, 6 - 16; Northstar - 8, 12, 15 - 35

Northstar Scoring - Reese Laubach - 1 goal; Cody Croal - 1 goal; Kaleb Pitman - 1 goal; Carter Olson - 1 assist; Brian Morse - 1 assist; Dylan Cook - 1 assist; Jaxon Grosdidier - 1 assist; Caleb Elfering - 1 assist

GOALTENDING - CJ Kier - W, 15 saves, 1 goal allowed

Maine - 0 1 0 - 1

Northstar - 2 1 1 - 4

SHOTS - Maine - 6, 10, 7 - 23; Northstar - 10, 12, 9 - 31

Northstar Scoring - Dylan Cook - 2 goals, 1 assist; Caleb Elfering - 2 assists; Brady Jones - 2 assists; Reese Laubach - 1 goal, 1 assist; Cody Croal - 1 goal, 1 assist; Brain Morse - 1 assist

GOALTENDING - CJ Kier - W, 22 goals, 1 goal allowed

Tri State - 0 0 1 - 1

Northstar - 1 2 2 - 5

SHOTS - Tri State - 7, 7, 10 - 24; Northstar - 14, 16, 15 - 45

Northstar Scoring - Jaxon Grosdidier - 2 goals; Cody Croal - 1 goal, 1 assist; Reese Laubach - 1 goal, 1 assist; Dylan Cook - 2 assists; Cody Elfering - 1 goal; Mitch Simmons - 1 assist; Nathan Huntington - 1 assist

GOALTENDING - Logan Veerport - W, 23 saves, 1 goal allowed

Knights’ 16U goes deep into tournament

The Northstar Knights 16U hockey team made a deep run into the Dixon Cup playoffs as well as the Knights won four games from Feb. 18-20 before falling in a 2-1 shootout against the Esmark Stars on Feb. 20.

Esmark’s Nathan Burlando was the lone goal scorer in the shootout as he sent his team on in the tournament. The Stars went on to win the 16U championship as they beat the Des Moines Buccaneers in a 1-0 game.

Bronson Hunt had the lone goal for Northstar in that final game, while Bauer Berry tallied an assist. Beck Liden took the tough loss in the shootout after he turned aside 20 shots and allowed just one goal through overtime. Iannico Amaranto had 40 saves in the win for Esmark.

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The Knights’ prior wins came in a 4-3 win over CarShield, a 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Little Flyers, a 4-1 win over the Tri State Spartans, and an 8-0 win over the Madison Capitols.

CarShield 2 1 0 - 3

Northstar 0 4 0 - 4

SHOTS - CarShield - 8, 10, 11 - 29; Northstar - 8, 10, 7 - 25

Northstar Scoring - Sam Kartch - 1 assist; Gavin Hruza - 1 goal, 1 assist; Colten Sell - 1 goal; Jacob Peterson - 1 assist; Jacob Lundeen - 1 goal, 1 assist; Shane Burns - 2 assists; Bronson Hunt - 1 goal

GOALTENDING - Beck Liden - 13 saves, 3 goals allowed, 25:29; Max Weilandt - 13 saves, 0 goals allowed, 25:30

Northstar 2 1 1 - 4

Philadelphia 0 0 0 - 0

SHOTS - Northstar - 11, 15, 12 - 38; Philadelphia - 7, 11, 9 - 27

Northstar Scoring - Max Evans - 1 goal, 1 assist; Landon Dauner - 1 assist; Gavin Hruza - 1 assist; Bauer Berry - 1 goal; Ryan Murphy - 1 goal; Colten Sell - 1 goal; Bronson Hunt - 1 assist

GOALTENDING - Max Weilandt - W, 27 saves, 0 goals allowed

Tri State 0 0 1 - 1

Northstar 0 1 3 - 4

Northstar scoring - Sam Kartch - 1 goal; Alex Klimek - 1 goal; Gavin Hruza - 1 assist; Bauer Berry - 1 goal, 1 assist; Ryan Murphy - 1 assist; Shane Burns - 1 assist; Bronson Hunt - 1 assist; Tanner Hunt - 1 goal; Andrew Leung - 1 assist

GOALTENDING - Merik Grinaker - W

Madison 0 0 0 - 0

Northstar 2 3 3 - 8

SHOTS - Madison - 3, 2, 1 - 6; Northstar - 17, 16, 13 - 46

Northstar scoring - Sam Kartch - 2 goals; Landon Dauner - 1 goal, 1 assist; Gavin Hruza - 2 goals; Bauer Berry - 1 goal, 1 assist; Jacob Peterson - 1 goal; Shane Burns - 1 assist; Lincoln Hjelm - 3 assists; Brayden Berg - 1 assist; Bronson Hunt - 1 goal, 1 assist; Dylan McCann - 1 assist; Andrew Leung - 1 assist

GOALTENDING - Beck Liden - W, 6 saves, 0 goals allowed

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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