The 2022 East Coast Classic Tournaments College Cup spectacular concluded Oct. 16 with 30 games slated to face off in five arenas across southcentral Connecticut. Seven champions were crowned in the various divisions with two programs laying claim to a pair of the coveted ECC Cups.
Kuper Academy of Kirkland, Quebec, carried two title trophies across the international border from Danbury Arena after capturing the championship in both the 15U and 14U divisions. Meanwhile, closer to home, the Hamden Dragons 16U and 18U clubs both collected ECC hardware with late-game heroics.
Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Revolution earned spots in a pair Sunday title game showdowns, seizing the crown at the 16U level but being denied at 15U. Subsequently, a couple of well-known Constitution State clubs, the Hartford Junior Wolfpack and Wonderland Wizards, secured championships in the 18U
Hartford and Elite Hockey Academy battled to a scoreless tie through 44 minutes of regulation play before Christobal Tolla set up Sam Pfefferie for the title-clinching goal with 1:41 left in overtime. It was the second straight OT victory for the Junior Wolfpack, who survived the upset-minded Connecticut Whalers in the morning semifinal, 4-3, in extra time.
Norwich Free Academy was a surprise entry into the semifinals after going winless during round-robin play, but that didn’t stop the Wildcats from upsetting the top-seeded Amherst Knights in the semifinals, 6-4. However, Norwich’s good fortune ran out against Wonderland in the championship game, blanked by goalie Connor Zavory and the Wizards, 3-0.
Hamden needed overtime to beat MidFairfield, 3-2, and clinch the crown with a perfect 5-0-0 record. Both clubs had shut out their semifinal opponents to secure a berth in the title tilt, which was a matchup of up to then the division’s lone unbeaten clubs, although the Junior Rangers did own a round-robin tie on their record.
Philadelphia posted an unblemished 5-0-0 record on its way to the championship, allowing just five goals in five contests, which included a pair of 4-0 shutout victories, the second coming in the semifinal against Atlantic Coast Academy. The Revolution then held off Elite Hockey Academy in the
championship game, 3-1.
Mike Azzarone’s second goal of the game with :04 left in regulation lifted Hamden over the Worcester Railers for the crown. After assisting on the Dragons’ first goal late in the first half, Azzarone initially gave Hamden a short-lived lead with 5:01 remaining before Landon O’Connor scored the equalizer for the Railers just 1:51 later, setting up the thrilling conclusion.
Kuper Academy and Philadelphia Revolution were destined to meet in the final after both rolled through their round-robin opponents and controlled the action in their respective semifinals. But the Kodiaks’ lockdown defense proved too much for the Revolution in the championship, leading Kuper to a 4-1 win. In its five victories, Kuper didn’t allow more than a single goal to go along with a pair of shutouts.
Kuper exacted some revenge on fellow Canadian rival Academie Saint-Louis of Quebec City in Sunday’s championship game with a 3-1 victory after falling to the Arsenal in round-robin play on Saturday. The Kodiaks had beaten the Philadelphia Little Flyers twice in the first round to earn a berth in the final before squaring off against well-rested Academie Saint-Louis the first time in the Arsenal’s opening game, 4-3.