Troy, MI (Feb 22, 2022) 

For more information, contact: Johnny Van Atta, Director of Hockey Operations (615) 830-1113, [email protected]

The Northstar Knights traveled to Detroit, Michigan for the much anticipated NAPHL playoffs. The 18U Knights came into the weekend with strong intentions to bring back the Dixon Cup trophy after they were crowned the NAPHL Champions in 2021. This year, they took on #75 Carshield, #129 Arizona Bobcats, and #15 Maine Nordiques in the 3-game pool play and went 2-0-1 en route to finishing top in their division. In the Quarterfinals, the Knights took down #56 Tri-State Spartans by a score of 5-1 and then defeated Maine Nordiques again 3-1 in the Semi-Finals. Heading into the finals, the Knights knew they were headed into a battle with #62 Biggby Coffee who boasted a much-improved lineup since the Knights last played them in January at the Indianapolis NAPHL showcase. Although the Knights held the advantage in the shot column, Biggby jumped out to an early lead when forward Max Martin scored on the power play. A goal by defenseman Brian Morse would even things up with 13:39 left in the 3rd period. With a little less than 90 seconds to go in regulation, the Knights would break the deadlock when Morse corralled the puck at the blue line and fired a shot through traffic that deflected off of forward Dylan Cook. The Knights would hold on to win 2-1 to reclaim the title as the NAPHL Champions. “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.” With a roster of 25 players this season, the Knight’s depth has been a huge factor in their 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 16U Knights came into Detroit with a 10-1-1 record since the new year and posted an astonishing 7 shutouts in those games thanks to a strong D-Core and goaltending from Beck Lidén, Max Weilandt, and Merik Grinaker. Our goalies are the backbone of our team and allow our guys to play with a ton of confidence”, Associate Head Coach, Mark Abalan said. “This trio has done it all year through a tremendous work ethic and competitive attitude which they display every day.” The Knights started out pool play by defeating #410 Madison Capitols 8-0, where they outshot their opponent 56-3. The Knights then took on #208 Tri-State Spartans Saturday morning and won 4-1 thanks to goals from Sam Kartch, Alex Klimek, Bauer Berry, and Tanner Hunt. The tournament then took an interesting twist Saturday night when forward Lincoln Helm received a vicious knee-on-knee hit in the game vs #93 Philadelphia Little Flyers that would, unfortunately, end Hjelm’s tournament. The Knights would go on to defeat the flyers 4-1 with goals from Bauer Berry, Ryan Murphy, Colten Sell, and Tanner Hunt. The Knights completed pool play 3-0 and would face #41 Carshield in the quarterfinals. Carshield had been a familiar foe to the Knights during the season as the Knights owned a 2-2-1 record and 4 out of the 5 games had been decided by 1 goal. After going down 3-1 early in the 2nd period the Knights had their work cut out for them. In a span of fewer than 3 minutes, the Knights would storm back with 3 goals with goals from Gavin Hruza, Colten Sell, and Bronson Hunt. Led by stellar play in net by Max Weilandt, the Knights would hang on in the 3rd period to seal a 4-3 win. “This was the team we knew we would have to beat at some point in the tournament.” Abalan said, “They were one of the toughest opponents we faced all year. Because of the events from the previous game vs. the Flyers, our line-up was missing some key guys but as we’ve said all year, the strength of our team is the team and the guys really did an amazing job of digging deep and accomplishing a signature win in a huge game.” The win over Carshield earned the Knights a birth in the Semifinals against #52 Esmark Stars. The Knights and Stars held each other scoreless through 2 periods due to strong play from goaltenders Beck Lidén and Iannico Amaranto. The Stars would manage to sneak a goal past Lidén with 5 minutes to go in the game, however, Bronson Hunt would rescue the Knights with a goal with 30 seconds remaining. The Knights would heavily control possession through a 5-minute 4-4 overtime and then again in a 5 minutes 3-3 overtime but could not manage to get a goal. Due to time restrictions, the game needed to go into a shootout that went 7 rounds deep before a goal was scored by Stars forward Nathan Burlando. The Knights were unfortunately not able to answer back and the Stars went on to win the game 2-1 and were eventually crowned the Champions of the 16U division. “It was a great weekend by our guys and we just came up a little short.” Abalan said, “I’m disappointed for them because they played their hearts out. I’m so proud of all of them and told them after the game ‘ sometimes in sports, we just come up a little short but that doesn’t diminish the growth of this group and all that we have accomplished together’”.

After getting a weekend to rest last week, the Knights will travel to Sioux Falls to take on the Power on Friday, March 4, and Saturday, March 5.