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USPHL 16U Championship: Pittsburgh Vengeance come back to win Bridgewater title

By James Murphy / USPHL.com, 02/24/19, 11:45PM EST

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Tyson Springer and Dylan Frazier each had a goal and an assist and Ethan Isaly made 27 saves as the Pittsburgh Vengeance held on for a 4-3 win to clinch the 16U Bridgewater Championship. 

“Unbelievable! Incredible!” Vengeance head coach Brian Ramm said following the clinching win. “It’s been a long season. We got banged up; had a lot of injuries and had to fight through a lot of adversity and I’m very proud of them for the job they’ve done.”

In the first five minutes of the second period, the Vengeance scored three goals in 2:43 and two in :30 early in the second period to blow the game open and make it 4-1. Springer scored at 2:17; then Evan Victor at 4:30 and then Matthew Purdue scored what proved to be the game-winner at 5:00 of the middle frame. 

“I’m feeling excited for this win,” a smiling Purdue said after the game. “We really bared down there at the end and got it done.”

New York opened the scoring at 5:28 of the first period on Nick Rogers’ first goal of the game before Pittsburgh made it 1-1 on Frazier’s goal at 7:26. After falling behind 4-1 in the second, the Aviators stormed back on goals by Yakov Yakzhin and then Rogers again to make it 4-3. Instead of crumbling though, the Vengeance regrouped and buckled down for the win. 

Ramm was impressed with the way his team handled the Aviators comeback bid at the end of the second and then held on for the win.

“It was actually pretty calm, they handled it well,” said the elated bench boss. “I think earlier in the year when we got into situations like that, we’d have a bit more difficulty, but they’ve been battling through it all year and I think they handled it very well, stayed calm and kept their composure.”

Ramm is in his last year coaching competitively and his son Nick is a forward on the team and had an assist in the championship win, and his Dad, his former coach was also on the bench for the playoffs. For the Ramm’s Sunday was a day they will never forget!

“It’s been 40 years [in hockey], I started when I was three and this is my last year coaching competitively,” Ramm said. “So this is a great way to finish it off. It means a lot. My Dad has been there for me and he was the guy who put me on the ice first. We put Nicholas on the ice together when he was four years old in Amherst, New York. So to have him (his Dad) here and to be with my son, it means a lot.”

 

Semifinals

In the semifinals, the Vengeance put up a 5-spot on the Hartford Junior Wolfpack, winning 5-2. Michael Vasko and Tyson Springer had a goal and an assist each and Nick Ramn, Dominic Desjardins and Evan Victor all scored for the Vengeance. Ethan Isally was sensational between the pipes for the Vengeance, making 44 saves and constantly crushing any hopes of a Wolfpack comeback.

The Aviators got to the final in dramatic fashion as they staved off a Jersey Shore Whalers two-goal comeback in the third period to win 3-2 on a Yakov Yakzhin power-play goal 8:56 into overtime. Yakzhin finished the game with two goals and an assist. Matt Mezzina also scored for the Aviators and added an assist. Between the pipes, Corey Finnigan held the fort down with 41 saves.