Semifinal #1: Minnesota Blades – 4 vs. Chicago Mission – 3 (OT)
In the first Fall Classic West U16 Tournament semifinal game, all the regulation scoring came in the third period as the Minnesota Blades advanced to the championship game with a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Chicago Mission. The Blades took a 3-0 lead with goals from Payton Matsui, Rob Christy and Bryce Brodzinski. The Mission scored the next three goals of the game to send the two teams to sudden death overtime. It was Brian Silver, Mathieu De St. Phalle and Alex Turcotte – who tied the game with just 31 seconds remaining in regulation – who picked up goals for Chicago, and the clubs headed to extra time. 12 minutes into overtime, Brodzinski netted the game winner to send his team to the championship game.
Semifinal #2: Honeybaked – 4 vs. Dallas Stars Elite – 3
In the second 4-3 decision in as many games, Honeybaked earned the victory to take on the Minnesota Blades in the Fall Classic West U16 Tournament championship game. Goals from Tri-City Storm prospect Ryan Roth and Fargo Force prospect Ryan Savage gave Honeybaked a 2-0 lead after one period of play. Joe Borthwick made it a 3-0 game in the second period before Jordan Yoder got the Stars on the board late in the middle frame. Dallas made it 3-2 game with a Ryan O’Reilly, a Madison Capitols prospect, tally four minutes into the third, but Drew Cooper extended the lead to 4-2 about nine minutes later. Despite a late goal from Austin Lidster, Minnesota was able to hang on and advance to the championship game.
Championship: Minnesota Blades – 4 vs. Honeybaked – 2
The Minnesota Blades were crowned inaugural Fall Classic West U16 Tournament champions thanks to a 4-2 victory over Honeybaked inside Ralston Arena on Sunday afternoon. Bryce Brodzinski, who scored twice in the semifinal win over the Chicago Mission, including the game-winner in overtime, got Minnesota on the board first. Sioux Falls Stampede prospect Jack Bayless put a rebound attempt past Honeybaked goaltender Mack Guzda and doubled the Blades lead to 2-0. Honeybaked’s Mike Mancinelli then sniped a shot past Blades goaltender Benny Garrity to get his team on the board and cut the deficit in half. Jacob Badal then tied the game at two after receiving a long flip pass from inside his own zone, but then goals from Nick Stromand and Green Bay Gamblers prospect Jack Perbix gave the Blades the lead once more and they would hang on to become champions of the Fall Classic West U16 Tournament.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.