This weekend is Hockey Weekend Across America, and while the Blue Jackets are on the road, there’s still a marquee on-ice matchup in Columbus. The U18 AAA Blue Jackets, ranked third in the nation, take on second-ranked Culver Prep in a doubleheader at Chiller North. And the Jackets will have revenge on their mind.
These two teams last played back in October, with Culver taking the first game 3-1 and the second 7-1. But this time, they’ll play on the AAA Jackets home ice, and the Jackets have been absolutely scorching hot as of late. Last week, the U18 AAA Jackets went up to Blaine, Minn. for the Tier 1 Elite Hockey Championships, and they came home as champions.
In round-robin play, the AAA Jackets beat the TPH Thunder 5-0, then lost to Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 4-1. Their final round-robin game was a must-win, as they faced the St. Louis Jr. Blues. The Jackets won 3-2 in overtime, having fought back from a 2-0 deficit going into the third.
The Jackets advanced to the semi-finals as the fourth seed, and shocked top-seed Victory Honda, coming away with an 8-4 win. This set up a rematch in the finals with Pittsburgh. Trevor St. Jean’s hat trick led the Jackets to a 6-2 win in the rematch, bringing the Tier 1 Elite Hockey Championship to Columbus.
The championship came just two weeks after the U18 AAA Jackets won the Belle Tire Victory Honda Mid-Winter AAA Classic, going 6-0 in that tournament. Their record now sits at 51-7-2 on the season, and they are a whopping 26-4-2 in league play.
Simply put – the U18 AAA Blue Jackets are playing great hockey right now. They're led by three college-bound players. Kole Sherwood, who leads the league in goals, recently committed to Boston University, one of the nation’s premier hockey programs. Two of his teammates, Brendan Demler and Carson Meyer, the league’s points leader, are Ivy League-bound. Both are committed to Dartmouth.
While Sherwood and Meyer are offensive standouts, it’s the blue-liner, Demler, who’s catching the eyes of NHL scouts. He’s ranked in the top 200 draft-eligible prospects according to nhl.com.
According to USA Hockey, the primary objective of Hockey Weekend Across America is to celebrate the game and all involved in the sport throughout the nation. What better way to do that than by watching a top-flight U18 matchup right here in Columbus?
The first matchup is on Saturday at Chiller North. The U16’s play Culver at 6 p.m. before the main event, an 8 p.m. matchup between the U18’s. The U18’s play the second half of their doubleheader the next morning at Chiller North, with the puck drop scheduled for 9:30 a.m. The U16’s face off an hour later at the OhioHealth Ice Haus.