The Mitchell Mustangs traveled to Cleveland, OH last week for the USA Hockey High School National Championship Tournament looking to defend the Team’s 2016 National Title.
Having already won back-to-back LHSHL Championships (2016 & 2017), as well as back-to-back SAHOF State Championships (2016 & 2017), the Mustangs arrived in Cleveland with a smaller roster than usual, but with plenty of talent, heart, and grit ready to battle the nation’s best Tier II high school teams.
Mitchell got off to a rousing start on March 30th as they downed Northern Kentucky Norse 9-2 behind a balanced attack that saw 7-different Mitchell players pot goals, including Nathan Smith (2), 2017 LHSHL Honda Player of the Year Tucker Tassone, Jack Mazur, Nick DeMicelli (2), Jon Heller, Max Budd, and Tyler Gay. Stalwart goalie Jacob Serpe stopped 17-shots in earning the victory.
Up next for the Mustangs on March 31st was the team from McKinney, TX. In a tightly contested affair, Mitchell prevailed 2-1 with Ethan Torliamis scoring the game winning goal for the Mustangs in the 3rd period. Nick DeMicelli also scored for Mitchell, and once again, Jacob Serpe stopped 19 of 20 shots to earn his 2nd win of the tournament.
April Fool’s Day brought the Omaha Jr. Lancers (NE) team, and the Mustangs found themselves trailing after the 1st period. Nate Smith struck in the 2nd to tie the game, and then found the back of the net again in the 3rd period to provide the margin of victory as the Mustangs won again by a score of 2-1. Jason Capelo backstopped the Mustangs to the victory stopping 14-Lancers’ shots.
Sunday, April 2nd brought the specter of playing 2-games on the same day, but the Mustangs were ready as 4-different players recorded goals in a 4-2 win over Penn, IN. Logan Beard, Tucker Tassone, Nick DeMicelli, and Tyler Gay all potted markers for the Mustangs, and Jacob Serpe returned to the net to stop 26-Penn shots for the win. The victory put the Mustangs’ record at a perfect 4-0 and sent them into one of the evening’s Semi-Finals against Frisco, TX.
In a wild affair against Frisco, the Mustangs trailed by as many as 3-goals before storming back with 4-unanswered goals to take the lead early in the 3rd. Unfortunately, despite a valiant effort, the Mustangs were not able to hold on, and Frisco advanced to the Finals with a 7-4 win. Nate Smith scored 4-goals for the Mustangs.
For the Tournament, Smith recorded 8-goals and 13-points, leading all scorers, and Jack Mazur was among the leaders with 5-assists. Goalie Jacob Serpe was one of the top goalies for the Tournament with 3-wins.
The Mustangs once again demonstrated that high school hockey is alive and well in FL, and they represented the LHSHL with grit, determination, pride and dignity. The LHSHL congratulates all the Mitchell Coaches, Players, Managers, and Parents on an outstanding season!