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Jr. Ducks’ Squirt A group tasting victories as 2017 opens

 

JrDucks2006

First, CAHA and Detroit, now North America.

For the second year in a row, the Anaheim Jr. Ducks’ Squirt A team coached by Eugene Kabanets advanced to the championship game of its age group at The Cup North American Championship in Buffalo, N.Y., from Jan 13-15.

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The tournament, for 2002-07 birth years, featured more than 40 of the top 2006 teams in North America, evenly split between the United States and Canada.

The Jr. Ducks won their four round-robin games and quarterfinal and semifinal matchups by a combined 34-11 before falling to Team Illinois in the final.

They defeated the Elgin Middlesex Chiefs 4-1 in the quarters and knocked off the Vaughan Kings 3-2 in the semifinals.

The Buffalo run came on the heels of a 9-3-1 start in CAHA, where the 2006s are playing up in the Pee Wee AA division, and an undefeated weekend (5-0) at a Tier 1 Elite Hockey League showcase in Detroit in mid-December.

“This team has been together for three years, and we have a good core that we’ve built around,” Kabanets said. “They played up a lot, so they know how to play against older players. It was hard at the beginning of the season, but the good competition has helped raise the bar.

“The last two months, they’ve raised their speed and the compete level. The AA competition absolutely helped and it shows. It’s helped them compete nationally and internationally.”

The 2006s also were dominant at the Tier 1 showcase, outscoring foes like Detroit Victory Honda, the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, Soo Greyhounds, Cleveland Barons and Ohio Blue Jackets 44-9 in the five games.

Roster from The Cup North American Championship (Jan 13-15, 2017):

Aidan Yi
Andrew O’Sullivan
Brendan Vincent
Chase Stefanek
Colin Frank
Harry Avrith (G)
Kai Mencel
Liam McGuern
Lucas Schwarz
Oliver Clarke
Rudy Arishin (G)
Trevor Connelly
Trevor Fessenden
Taygen Gilmer

Anaheim Jr. Ducks coaches: Eugene Kabanets (HC), Scott Connelly (AC), Albert Yi (AC), Tom O’Sullivan (AC)

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Roster from the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League Tournament in Detroit (Dec 16-18, 2016):

Aidan Yi
Andrew O’Sullivan
Brendan Vincent
Chase Stefanek
Colin Frank
Harry Avrith (G)
Kai Mencel
Liam McGuern
Lucas Schwarz
Oliver Clarke
Trevor Connelly
Trevor Fessenden

Anaheim Jr. Ducks coaches: Eugene Kabanets (HC), Scott Connelly (AC), Albert Yi (AC), Tom O’Sullivan (AC)

— Chris Bayee