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Esmark Stars 18U team captures tournament title

October 14, 2013
The NAPHL’s Esmark Stars 18U AAA team captured the Buffalo Saints Tournament in Buffalo, NY, this past weekend.
 
The Pittsburgh-based team skated to a 3-0-0 record in round-robin play and captured the top seed for their division with wins over the Amherst Knights (4-2), Shady Side Academy (3–0), and the host Buffalo Saints (4–3).
 
In an opening 4-2 win over Amherst, Troy Double scored a pair of goals and added an assist to pace the Stars.  Cole Hepler and Brian Dee also tallied goals. Adam Alavi (two), Alex Pullekines, and Tanner Gilliland added assists.  Joey Recktenwald earned the win in goal. The Stars outshot Amherst 31-18 for the game.
 
In the 3-0 win over Shady Side Academy, Brian Dee scored a goal and added an assist to pace the Stars. Also tallying goals were Adam Alavi and Cole Hepler.  Alex Pullekines, Kyle Cunningham, and Troy Double added assists.  Brian Baker picked up an assist and turned aside 12 shots to earn the shut-out and win in goal.  The Stars outshot Shady Side 44-12 for the game.
 
In the round-robin 4-3 win over the Buffalo Saints, Brian Dee again paced the Stars as he picked up two goals.  Mike Klena and Cole Hepler also scored for Esmark.  Adam Alavi and Troy Double each picked up two assists, while Joey Recktenwald earned the win in goal as the Stars outshot the Saints 32-24.
 
In the semi-finals, Esmark skated by the Cleveland Hockey Alliance 4-1.  Troy Double (two goals and two assists) and Adam Alavi (two goals and one assist) again paced the Stars.   Brian Dee added three assists and Ryan Lottes and Tristan Ramage each added one assist.  Brian Baker earned the win in goal as Esmark outshot Cleveland 36-21.
 
In the Championship game, after a brief two-hour respite, the Stars again met up with the host Buffalo Saints and skated away with an impressive 5-1 win.  Tanner Gilliland tallied a natural hat-trick to lead the offense for the Stars.  Carmen Dalesandro added a goal and two assists and David Polinski chipped in a goal for the Stars.  Cole Hepler recorded three assists, while Jake Worcester, Kyle Cunningham and Alex Pullekines each added an assist.  Joey Recktenwald earned the win in goal, and co-MVP honors in the Championship game with Tanner Gilliland, recording 37 saves.
 
The 18U Stars championship run at Buffalo Saints Tournament follows strong performances in the Massachusetts Tier I Labor Day Tournament in Boston and at the Motor City Cup in Detroit, MI.
 
In Boston, the Stars earned a spot in the Championship game with a 5-1-0 record, including round-robin wins over the the Connecticut Wolfpack National team and the TOEHL's (Tier One Elite Hockey Legaue) Boston Advantage, before advancing to the championship game with a triple overtime semi-final win over the Mid-Fairfield Yankees.  The Stars dropped a tough 4-1 decision to the Springfield Rifles in the Championship game.
 
At the Motor City Cup, the Stars captured their round-robin division, going 1-0-2  with a 0-0 tie against Compuware of the HPL (High Peformance League) and a 2-2 tie aganst the MDHL White team and a 3-1 win over the Oakland Grizzlies of the TOEHL.  The Stars, down to 11-skaters  with injuires and a suspension, were eliminated from the tournament by HoneyBaked in a tense 2-0 loss in the quarter-finals.
 
The tournament run in Buffalo brings the 18U Esmark Stars 2013-14 overall record to 17-5-2-1.  The Stars are 2-2-0-1 in NAPHL league play.
 
 
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