Duluth's Phoenix U14 team geting national title rings

DULUTH — For one more afternoon, the Atlanta Phoenix U14 bantam major team gets to savor its national championship together.

The Phoenix will get their rings today during a ceremony at 1:30 p.m. at the Duluth IceForum.

It’s part of the IceForum’s block party to kick off a new season of youth travel hockey. The parking-lot event starts at noon and includes a DJ, food, booths for fundraisers and a coach dunk tank. It runs until 4 p.m. with the big moment at 1:30 for the Phoenix, just the second team from Georgia to win a national title.

Atlanta went undefeated in pool play at the tournament and advanced to the win-or-go-home quarterfinals against Utah. The Phoenix won a narrow one 3-2 and had a huge push in the semifinal, sparked by a tying goal from Seth Johnson in the second period, to beat Nashville 7-3.

After hammering Nashville with a deadly power play, the team again overcame a one-goal deficit to beat Northern Kentucky 6-3 in the finals and take home the national championship.

“I really thought these kids thought there was no way they were going to lose,” head coach Bobby Cernich said in weeks following the win.

The Phoenix played with no more than 14 skaters all season. Now they’ll gather one last time to celebrate the accomplishment. Half the players will be on different teams this season. One is coming all the way from Missouri for the ceremony today.

“The families of the team have been together a long time,” Cernich said.