Many of the same members of last year’s 16U South Kent Selects Academy team that won at that level in 2018 got a chance to win again here in 2019 as an 18U squad.
“It was great to win another USPHL championship, back to-back,” said captain Jack Robilotti, an ‘01 winner with last year’s 16U team that helped the 18U squad defeat the New Jersey Hitmen 3-1 on Sunday evening. “It was a great weekend lot of great competition and I look forward to the next couple years.”
After the first period, it was the Hitmen who had taken the early initiative and a 1-0 lead in the 2019 championship game.
Oscar Worob cut across the slot and put one past Dominic Basse with 1:30 left on the clock.
Selects countered not long after, at 12:53 of the second period.
The game’s momentum took a turn towards the Selects' corner when the Hitmen were hit with a 5-minute penalty and game misconduct for a contact to the head call.
The Hitmen actually killed off the Selects’ power play, but they were never again able to shift the momentum in their direction.
“I give a lot of credit to the Hitmen. They battled hard the whole way, but we took it to them after that first goal and eventually got the “W,” the most important thing,” Robilotti added.
The second goal was close behind, scored by Ryan Coughlin. The real backbreaker, however, was scored by Stephen Kyrkostas. He came in and put a backhand move on the Hitmen’s John Werber for what stood up as the insurance goal.
“It was a good battle, a 3-1 win,” said captain Will Margel. “We fought hard. We were short of bodies throughout the game, but I’m glad we all stayed together and came out on top.”
In the third period, the Selects simply buckled down and did everything they needed to win.
“It was a great weekend, and a great stamp to put on our resume,” said captain Nick Dineen. “ It was an all-around great weekend.”
Dineen won as a 16U and last year as an 18U, as well. Head coach Chris Uber was an assistant coach with last year’s victorious 16U team before guiding this year’s title group.
“It was a great weekend. As our assistant coach Karl Linden, who does a great job, says ‘It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do, playoff hockey is hard, winning championships is hard,’” said Uber. “It takes a lot of work along the way. These guys bought in all the way.”
The Selects got to the final after winning a big semifinal game over the Skipjacks Hockey Club in overtime.
“They’re all big,” Uber added. “It’s five games in three days. You have to get into the playoff mentality if you want to be here on Sunday,” said Uber. “We lost a tough one to Northwood. I’m proud of their effort to bounce back and be here today, to be able to create 51 minutes this morning and do it again this afternoon.”