This past week, eight members of our Jesuit community–juniors Nick Alexander, John Leflore, Hayden Meshell, and Drew Brunts; seniors Garrett Finney, Brenden Cain, and James Grass; and student affairs assistant Mark Campbell as coach–won the Under-18 USA Hockey National Championship in Lansing, Michigan.
The Dallas Oilers, a select hockey team composed of players from schools all over Dallas and coached by Campbell, beat out 36 other teams from around the nation to win the National Championship. The win at nationals follows the Oilers’ state title in February.
The Oilers, who went 6-0 in the tournament, started off the tourney in round robin play. Early on, they beat the Tri-Valley Blue Devils (5-3), the Milwaukee Phoenix Force (4-3 in overtime), and the Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles (4-2). The Oilers won what Coach Campbell called the “highest and hardest division” and moved on to the elimination rounds.
During the elimination round, the Oilers continued to cruise ahead, beating the Romeoville Huskies, 6-2, and then the Chicago Bruins, 5-1, in the semi-finals. Two big victories earned the Oilers a spot in the championship, where the drama really began.
In a hard-fought defensive battle, the Oilers went all the way to triple-overtime against the Sylvania Maple Leafs of Ohio. The tie was broken by the Oilers’ Bradford Burr of Highland Park, who scored the game winner. Burr’s goal, only his second all season, sent the players into a dog pile behind the net.
The broadcast of the winning goal can be seen here:
The video includes a great line from the broadcaster, who said: “He [Burr] took it himself and said, ‘Everyone chill. I got this!’”
“It’s all a blur really,” explained Coach Campbell as he recalled Burr’s game-winning shot. “There was a lot of emotion, a lot of tears, a lot of excitement; it was all just a big blur how it all happened.”
Nick Alexander ’13 also described the team’s surprised feelings in the championship. “I expected to win,” said Alexander, “but I knew it would be a very difficult road. To be honest I was a little surprised because we played a lot of great teams. It was a mixed feeling of surprise, knowing that we could have done it but it was still hard to believe we were National Champions.”
Congrats to all team members involved and to Coach Campbell on such an outstanding achievement.