By Greg Gielczyk
In fact, the Wolves (31-3-3) were the only team to sweep through the competition without a loss. All of the other teams in the field had at least one.
But, it wasn’t a new experience for some of the local skaters. Several of them were on the U 10 team that won a state championship four years ago.
“I don’t think they ever played, or fought harder,” said Wolves assistant coach Brian Castonia. “I mean, it was awesome. On Sunday, when we got in the locker room, we told them it was going to be a war.
“Jim Parriniello, the other coach, kind of had a little thing where he always got the guys together in a circle and we all had a little talk. Then we put our arms in, and it was ‘One, two, three Wolves!’
“But this time, Jim said he wanted us to repeat ‘Fighters, gladiators, warriors.’ We kept saying it louder and louder. It put goose bumps on your arm. It was awesome.”
The Wolves had never played the team they met in the championship game before, and they knew it was going to be a tough game.
Joey Castonia (Ludington) played in net for the Wolves in the championship game, and he was on point. He allowed only one goal, backed by a defense that included Iziquiel Picon (Shelby), Trevor Muralt (Mason County Central) and Cyric Jabrocki (Mason County Central).
“They took a beating, but got up and just gave it right back,” coach Castonia added. “They’re smaller players, but they gave it back to them. They weren’t taking anything.
“Even our goalie who didn’t like to play out, Presley Parrinello (Mason County Central) did awesome. He skated right with them. He was right there. Our defense was on point. It was just everybody. It was a family all year.”
Nathaniel Barnett (Manistee Catholic Central) had a double hat trick the one game. Also scoring for the Wolves were Ansel Carroll (Ludington), Lukas Schade (Mason County Central), Picon, Muralt and Aiden Adair (Mason County Central).
The Wolves opened the tournament Friday night with a 6-1 victory over the Bulldogs, then topped the Traverse City North Stars Red 4-2 on Saturday morning and defeated Traverse City North Stars Navy 6-3 on Saturday night and then defeated Traverse City North Stars Red 3-1 in the championship game Sunday.