Superior Jr. Wildcats win Pee Wee AA state crown

The Superior Hockey Junior Wildcats of Marquette Junior Hockey won the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association state championship in a tournament held March 1-3 in downstate Fraser. In the front row are Cole Kelly, left, and Wylen Cambensy. Second row from left, Tucker Welch, Landon Carpenter, Luke Menard and Connor Stade. Third row from left, Brett Ranta, Caleb Janofski, Caleb Fries, Corbin Gephart, CJ Carter, Kody Moyer, Nash Riipi, Kyle Moyer, Aidan Andrews and Adam Heikkila. Top row from left, assistant coaches Derrick Fries and Kurt Thiele, head coach Jason Welch, assistant coach Adam Carpenter and Tony DeMattia. (Submitted photo)

By Journal Sports Staff

MARQUETTE — The Superior Hockey Junior Wildcats of Marquette Junior Hockey won the Pee Wee AA Under-12 state championship in downstate Fraser last Sunday.

The team reported this was Marquette’s first Michigan Amateur Hockey Association state title at this level since 1993.

In the three-day tourney held in the Detroit suburb, Marquette opened play on March 1 with a 2-2 tie against the Saginaw Junior Spirit, a game the Upper Peninsula representatives trailed 2-0.

On March 2, the Wildcats edged Detroit Belle Tire 6-5 and dominated Fraser Big Boy Hockey Club 7-2 to advance to the semifinals.

Last Sunday morning, Marquette scored a 4-0 win over the Troy Sting to qualify for the state championship game that evening.

In the finals, the Wildcats posted a convincing 7-0 victory over the Lansing Spartans, scoring four times in the first period and three more in the third to finish the season with a nifty 52-3-5 record.

On the morning the state finals began, the Marquette icers were invited to watch a Detroit Red Wings team practice as Wings head coach Jeff Blashill talked to the youngsters afterward with words of encouragement.

During the season, the Junior Wildcats earned honors on multiple occasions.

In late October, the team won all five of its games to capture the title at a tournament in Traverse City, then in late November again went 5-0 to win the regional Silver Sticks event in Midland.

At the Tundra Tussle in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in mid-December, they again went undefeated in four games to win that crown after a rousing comeback in the championship game. Trailing 4-1 with less then four minutes left, the Junior Wildcats battled back to force overtime, then scored in the extra period to win.

The Marquette icers also won their Northern International Hockey League regular-season title with a 15-0-1 record in a division that includes teams from Escanaba, Houghton, Calumet and Sault Ste. Marie.

In the MAHA district tourney in early February, the Junior Wildcats defeated Escanaba 8-1, Houghton 4-3 and Calumet 4-1 to capture that championship and earn their berth in the state finals.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.