Post & Courier | Andrew Miller

Colton Mons scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, and added two assists to lead the Charleston Junior Stingrays past the Atlanta Madhatters 5-4 in the final of the USA Hockey Tier II U-14 national championships on May 3.

It was the first national championship for a Charleston-based youth hockey team. The Stingrays were 5-0 during the five-day tournament in Dallas.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of this team,” said Stingrays head coach Matt Mons, who is Colton’s father. “It was a total team effort. We didn’t have any passengers today, everyone was pulling in the same direction. All the kids have worked so hard to get to this point and it’s a huge accomplishment for our youth program. There’s a national championship won by a team from South Carolina in youth hockey.”

Charleston’s Colin Gallagher scored a power-play goal with a shot off the right goal post to tie the game midway through the first period. The Stingrays grabbed their first lead at 2-1 on Hudson Nguyen’s goal later in the first period.

Hunter Kifer gave the Stingrays a 3-1 lead with his shorthanded goal four minutes into the second period.

After back-to-back goals from Atlanta to tie the game, Mons scored to give the Stingrays a 4-3 lead midway through the final period. Atlanta tied the game five minutes later.

Mons got the game-winner on the power play off assists from Kifer and Nguyen.

“I didn’t even see the puck go in the net, all I saw was all the parents cheering,” Colton Mons said.

Connor Carrafiello made 31 saves in the victory.

Mons led all tournament scores with 16 points, while Nguyen added 15 points and Kifer 12.

The Stingrays, who are based out of the Carolina Ice Palace in North Charleston, beat the Montana Big Sky Stars 3-2 on May 2 to advance to the final.

The team was honored on May 7 with a banner raising ceremony at the Ice Palace.