“Mick arranged some practices for the boys before the tournament, it was a good chance for the boys to get to know each other,” said Chamberlain, whose son J.T. also played on the team. “The kids got their legs charged up and we put some game plans in place, but just minor preparation.”
As it turned out, Team Merrimack was the youngest squad in the tournament, with five high school freshmen on the roster. The team also carried 12 forwards, which allowed Chamberlain to consistently roll out four lines. Most teams only had three lines, but with the extra skaters for Team Merrimack meant more skaters who could score.
“I would say that the whole team really contributed,” added Chamberlain. “All I had to do was manage the time to make sure everybody had an opportunity to play. We got scoring from all four our lines.”
The teams played seven games in a 5-day span. After round robin play, which Team Merrimack dominated, they moved onto the semifinals and then the finals against Pittsburgh.
“I had a lot of confidence going in and knew that we had a pretty good opportunity,” Chamberlain said. “It’s ironic because we were one of the youngest teams in the tournament, but I think that was one our advantages.”
Seven of the players from Team Merrimack were selected for the tournament’s all-star game, played later on that same week.
“I think this tournament really challenged the kids and it’s good for them,” noted Chamberlain. “Playing against kids from across the country that are on different levels, it’s a good experience for these kids to see.”