ROLLING IN ROCHESTER
The Washington Little Caps U16 National team travelled to Rochester for their third NJPHL Showcase weekend, and as they rolled into town, they most definitely had a target on their back – as they were the only undefeated team in the league. The league commish set the weekend’s round robin to match up the Caps against the second place (at the time) team twice, as well as the Michigan Warriors who held on to the second seat in the Western Conference all within 24 hours. Your Little Caps did not disappoint, as they went 4-0 on the weekend, and maintained their seat atop the league. Here are the game recaps:
WLC U16N 4 vs. Michigan Warriors 0
The Little Caps had previously beaten the Michigan Warriors 4-1 in Detroit. In that game back in September, the Warriors scored in the first period, but the Little Caps responded with four straight unanswered goals for the victory. Two months later, the Little Caps continued to shut down the Warriors offense for yet another convincing win. The early morning game started slow, though the Little Caps were awake and shooting. In the second period, Matthew Jahn finally broke through with the first goal. Cade Groton had a snipe to make it 2-0 in favor of the Little Caps. His line mate, Trent DeNuccio would add another one for an explosive second period. In the NJPHL showcases, they cut the ice halfway through the second period, and the boys headed to the locker room with a 3-0 lead. The rink staff was unaware of the ice cut planning, and it took some time for the game to resume. Would the down time change the game plan or work in the Warriors favor for them to mount a comeback? No, the Little Caps finished where they had left off in the first half of the game. They continued to shut down the Warriors, and DeNuccio added a power play goal in the third period off a David Leitzel feed. Goalie Kyle Henderson had 26 saves and the win in net.
WLC U16N 3 vs. Cincinnati Swords 2
In the first meeting of the two teams, the Little Caps had to work hard and dig in to come out the win. The Swords had lost that morning to the Pittsburgh Predators (who the Little Caps beat 2-0 in Buffalo) and had therefore slipped out of second place. Nevertheless, they were one of the few teams that the Little Caps had not yet seen in round robin play. The game started strong for the Caps, with Theo Lenz shooting it from the blue line and Jack Good tipping it in for the first score. However, shortly thereafter, the Swords responded as they had an odd man rush and buried a rebound to tie the game in the first period. The Little Caps looked tired from their early morning wake up, first game, and SUNY Brockport college tour. They went into the halftime ice cut with a 1-1 tie. The Little Caps came back in the second half of the second period to face another penalty kill. This time, the Swords converted and took their first lead of the game. The third period started with the Little Caps on their heels, down a goal and with over a minute left to kill on yet another Cincinnati power play. After killing the penalty, the Caps needed some energy and found it when Peyton Nash tied up the game with a great shot. The game was tied, but the Little Caps were called for yet another penalty. Not only did they kill it off, but Nash made a sweet pass to Jack Good, who finished for what would be the eventual game winning goal. Good had two goals and an assist against the Swords. Cincinnati pulled their goalie to try and tie it up at the end, but the Little Caps held on for their 10th win in the NJPHL. Ethan Roth made 18 saves in the winning effort.
WLC U16N 6 vs Utah Grizzlies 1
The Little Caps had not yet seen the Grizzlies in NJPHL play, but were focused on maintaining their lead in the standings. In another early morning game (8am!), the Little Caps had two successive early power play chances, and converted on the second one. Cade Groton had yet another great shot to give the Little Caps the early 1-0 lead. Yet, it would not hold as the Grizzlies skated right back with their own snipe to tie the game. The Grizzlies goal was enough to wake up the Little Caps potent offense. Drew Lorinchak scored off a feed from Peyton Nash and Matthew Jahn to grab the lead back in the first period. The Little Caps faced two more penalty kills before halftime and the ice cut. Whatever Coach Plocki said to the boys, or they said to each other, worked, as they came back out for the second half and controlled the game. Groton started off the scoring party with his second goal. Jack Good then tallied to make it 4-1 at the end of two periods. After killing off yet another Grizzlies power play, Groton assisted on a goal by defenseman Geoff Kostrzebski. Richie Kaye tallied from a nice pass by Sage Bittinger-Esser for the sixth and final goal. Ethan Roth had the win in net for the Little Caps.
WLC U16N 4 vs. Cincinnati Swords 0
The Little Caps were intent on keeping their NJPHL undefeated record, and it showed on Saturday afternoon as they played one of their most complete games of the season. While they had beaten Cincinnati in a hard fought game on Friday, the Caps hit the ice with a purpose and stormed out to dominate the Swords in every way on the ice. Jack Good had a snipe in the first period for his fourth goal of the weekend and the early Little Caps lead. The Little Caps controlled the first period as they held the Swords to just three shots, including on a power play. In the second, the Little Caps continued to control the tempo and limit Cincinnati, as they held them to zero shots in the entire period. David Leitzel lit the lamp with assists from Trent DeNuccio and Alec Freyberger shortly before the halftime ice cut. DeNuccio and Groton would both add third period goals for the 4-0 final. They both top the league for total points with 27 and 22, respectively, in 12 games played. Kyle Henderson had 8 saves, and another shutout win to lead the league with a .955 save percentage. It is always a nice drive home from a weekend when you can bring out the broom in the effort. Four wins in Rochester translates to an undefeated 12-0 showing in NJPHL play.
The Little Caps next face the Wilkes Barre Scranton Knights on the road before returning to Kettler after the Thanksgiving break. Come rock the red and support the march to the AYHL playoffs!
WEEKEND OF 11/8/14
The U16 National Little Caps travelled to Philly to face the orange and black Junior Flyers. The game started off well. Matthew Jahn, assisted by Peyton Nash, started the scoring with an even strength goal early in the first period. Trent DeNuccio added a power play strike later in the period, with assists from Nash and Cade Groton. The power play converted again, as DeNuccio scored his second of the game early in the second period, with an assist by David Leitzel. It was 3-0, with the Little Caps ahead. However, the Junior Flyers responded with a quick strike less than a minute after that. The tide had turned and Philadelphia scored again just a few seconds later. When they tied it up a few minutes later and then actually went ahead 4-3, Coach Plocki called a time out, settled his players down to try and get momentum back. Early in the third period, former Little Caps teammate and star Flyers forward Danny Hargadon was injured. The Little Caps not only killed off the subsequent power play, but Sage Bittinger Esser buried a short-handed strike to tie the game 4-4. However, the Little Caps would have to withstand yet another power play awarded to the Junior Flyers late in the third period to send the game into an extra 5 minute overtime period. With a few blocked shots and saves, the Little Caps survived the power play and, in fact, were awarded a power play of their own with just a few seconds remaining in regulation. Yet, the team could not convert even as the penalty time extended into overtime. The Little Caps walked away with one point for the 4-4 tie. Ethan Roth was 18 for 18 in relief.
On Sunday morning, the team was determined to get the two points and that determination showed. The Junior Flyers struck first, midway into the first period. However, the Little Caps tightened up and battened down as that was all they would allow for this game. 1999 defenseman Alec Freyberger buried a shot late in the first period to knot the game up at 1-1. Would we see another nail-biting overtime game? The Little Caps did not want to leave any points on the table, and kept up the pressure. With just 12 seconds left to go in the game, David Leitzel, Cade Groton and Trent DeNuccio combined on the game winning goal much to the delight of the bench and the Little Caps fans and family present. DeNuccio was credited with the goal, to bring his total to 14 in 14 AYHL games played. Kyle Henderson had 24 saves and the TEAM EARNED a big win.
The team and coaching staff want to wish Danny Hargadon a speedy recovery and hope to see him on the ice again soon. Next up Rochester!
LITTLE CAPS ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: JAMES SIXSMITH
Many Little Caps dream of making a career out of hockey. One Little Cap alum who has done so is James Sixsmith.
James recently completed three seasons playing pro hockey for Lørenskog in Norway’s premier league, the GET-ligaen, where he quickly became a superstar. In 2011-12, he put up 49 points in 26 games (plus 16 points in the playoffs). The following season, he scored 67 points in 43 games (and 18 points in the playoffs). And last season, he scored 52-points in 39 games.
That performance earned James a contract this season with Sodertalje Sports Klub (SSK) in Sweden’s Hockeyallsvenkan league. Many NHL players have played in the league, including Marcus Johansson of the Washington Capitals. “The level of play is very high and it's been a lifelong dream to play hockey and travel the world for a living,” James reports.
James played several season with the Little Caps, before going on to play for the Canterbury School and then Division I from 2003-2007 with Holy Cross. He is still the all-time points (152) and assists (104) leader at Holy Cross, and in his senior year received the league's and the USCHO National Sportsmanship Award.
After college, James played for the Cincinnati Cyclones and Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL, and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. He then moved to Germany, playing with the Cologne Sharks in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), and then with HK Jesenice in Austria’s “A” league, before moving on to Norway and now Sweden.
James has incredibly fond memories of his time with the Little Caps. “I feel like it was yesterday, even though I'm already 30,” he says of his Little Caps career. “My family and I still to this day reminisce about the days in the hotel in various cities; when the parents would hang out at the bar while the kids ran crazy around the hotel. I made lifelong friends playing for the Little Caps and that's something I truly cherish.”
His advice to our current players? “If you take anything from me, have fun and enjoy the ride. It's supposed to be fun. Playing for the Little Caps was some of the best times of my life.”
Pictures have been posted on the WLC 2001 page from the Canada Trip