YOUTH HOCKEY: Local players win national championship
The Mid-State Mustangs, an amateur travel hockey team based out of Altoona, have a distinct Indiana County flavor.
So, it’s cause for celebration for a few area players now that the Mustangs have their first 18-and-under national championship.
Camden Lydick and Jacob Miller of Marion Center and Luke Lewandowski of Indiana play for the team, which claimed the 18U Class AAA title with a 6-1 victory over the Delaware Ducks in the championship game at the USA Hockey Tier II Youth National Championships on Sunday in Wayne, N.J.
“When we started the Mustangs organization, we had in mind combining four areas to create a team that would compete on a national level,” coach Dave Weaver said.
“That would be Altoona, State College, Johnstown and Indiana. Without the Indiana players over the years and specifically this year, there’s no way we win a state title, let alone a national title. Those players’ contributions to this team are invaluable.”
Lydick, a center, Lewandowski, a winger, and Miller, a defenseman, were also teammates on the Indiana High School team, which has co-operative agreements with several area schools.
The chemistry the players developed that transferred into energy on the ice for the Indians spilled over into their Mustangs competition.
“What this shows is, when you put the best kids in the area together on a team, we’re really good in central Pennsylvania,” Weaver said.
The Mustangs trailed Team Ohio, 5-1, after two periods in a preliminary-round game on April 3. They charged back to tie the game at 5 before losing, 6-5, in overtime. It was the team’s only loss in the tournament.
“What this team had, and what other teams struggle to find, is the confidence to know they have the ability to win at very high levels,” Weaver said.
“All three (Indiana County players) really brought a passion for the game, specifically Luke Lewandowski. He was a power forward for us and scored some big goals throughout the season. Jake Miller was a very versatile player. We were able to play him at both defense and forward, and he brought a fantastic attitude every time he showed up to the rink. Cam Lydick, he’s just a pistol. He’s not a big guy, but he plays with a huge heart. He’s very fast, very energetic and just has a passion for the game.”