2016 NA3HL Silver Cup ready to roll
March 30, 2016
The 2016 NA3HL Silver Cup begins on Wednesday and officially will close the 2015-16 season for USA Hockey Tier III junior hockey. There is no better or fitting way to end the season.
The event runs Wednesday through Sunday at Canlan Ice Sports in Romeoville, Illinois, and will be played in cooperation with the first of four NAHL Future Prospects Combine events.
“This week’s event will showcase the talent, depth and competitiveness our league as eight teams battle for the right to be crowned NA3HL champions. The teams have all earned the right to be here and we look forward to come incredible competition this week,” said NA3HL Commissioner Denny Scanlon.
This week’s Silver Cup concludes what has been a memorable season for the NA3HL. It seems hard to believe that just over six years ago, the NA3HL took formation and in a very short period of time has become the premier USA Hockey Tier III junior league, leading the way in advancement and development of its players, both on and off the ice.
This weekend will be a true test of the best of the best that the NA3HL has to offer. Five of the six teams who won their division during the regular season will be represented at this week’s Silver Cup. All eight teams won at least 30 games or more during the regular season and three of the eight teams (North Iowa, Metro and Great Falls) are making a return trip to the event, having played in the Silver Cup in 2015.
Pool A: #1 North Iowa Bulls, #4 Point Mallard Ducks, #5 Great Falls Americans, #8 Yellowstone Quake
Pool B: #2 Metro Jets, #3 St. Louis Jr. Blues, #6 Twin City Steel, #7 Texas Jr. Brahmas
Wednesday’s action will feature the following games:
4:00pm: #7 Texas Jr. Brahmas vs. #2 Metro Jets – There may be no team hotter entering the Silver Cup than the Metro Jets. The Jets won all four playoff games on their way to the East Division title and have won 29 of their last 31 games dating back to mid-November. However, it is the defensive match-up to watch against Texas as both teams ranked towards the top of the league in fewest goals allowed during the season. After scoring just two goals in the South Finals, the Jr. Brahmas are going to have to find a way to crank up their offense against the Jets.
4:30pm: #6 Twin City Steel vs. #3 St. Louis Jr. Blues – Twin City is riding high off their West Division Finals sweep of the defending Silver Cup Champion Granite City Lumberjacks. The Jr. Blues were pushed to the limit in the Midwest Finals by Nashville, but came through with a shutout in the final game. Thanks to the magic of the NA3HL Showcase, the two clubs have met once already this season with the Jr. Blues coming away with a 5-4 win on December 19th. Keep an eye on the goalies in the gam, as both Jacob Weatherly (St. Louis) and Nathan Siclovan (Twin City) are playing well coming into the event.
7:00pm: #8 Yellowstone Quake vs. #1 North Iowa Bulls – The Quake go from a grueling Semi-Final series against Gillette, to a tight Frontier Finals against Great Falls, to having to face the NA3HL’s best in Game 1 of the Silver Cup in the North Iowa Bulls. The Bulls come into the game winners of 14 of their last 15 games. The Bulls were both the top offensive and defensive team in the league, so there will be a couple of keys if the Quake want to win. The first is to try and create offense against a team who doesn’t give up much with great goalies. Then it will be up to the Quake defense and likely starting goalie Garret Matz to slow down a team who can score with four lines. If the Quake can survive the early storm, they have a shot.
7:30pm: #5 Great Falls Americans vs. #4 Point Mallard Ducks – The 4 vs. 5 match-up will be perhaps one of the best of the day as both Point Mallard and Great Falls enter the event as playoff champions in their respective divisions. The Americans have won 12 of their last 13 games coming into the Silver Cup, while the Ducks have won 19 of their last 22 games. The goaltending match-up between Cooper Seedot (Point Mallard) and Jake Stephan (Great Falls) will be a good one to watch as both have played well in the playoffs to this point.