HALLOWELL, Maine — The Portland Junior Pirates 19-and-Under girls’ hockey team needed overtime in both their semifinal win over Connecticut Northern Lights and in the championship game win against the New Hampshire Avalanche at the New England District Tier II 19U tournament on St. Patrick Day.
In both cases, Katie Roy was there to play hero and send the Junior Pirates to the USA Hockey National Championship April 3-7 in San Jose, Calif.
In the semifinals against the Connecticut Northern Lights, Roy grabbed the puck in the neutral zone during a shorthanded situation and went in on a breakaway. She put the puck home for the 4-3 victory.
Jennifer Pepin, Megan Finley and Sandra Strogen also scored for the Pirates while Emily Corrales had a hat trick for the Northern Lights.
In the finals against the Avalanche she struck again — this time in double overtime. In similar fashion, Roy went on a breakaway in the neutral zone and lit the lamp in the 2-1 victory.
“She’s got ice in her veins because she has the tendency to score really big goals,” said Portland Junior Pirates coach Matt Libby said. “She had a big goal in the state game against the Central Maine Moose team and she had to big goals today. I can’t speak high enough of Katie.”
Libby said he doesn’t have the team practice breakaways that often, but Roy said she felt prepared.
“In the back of mind I said I can’t mess this up because I will never live this down,” Roy said. “I made it simple, I’ve been there many times and I did my thing.”
Drew Barry gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead with the assist going to Sarah Martens while Lexie Stefekos sent the game into overtime for New Hampshire. The assist went to Sylar Pepin.
Coming together as a team
The Junior Pirates are a full-season team that played all their games on Sundays, which allowed players to also play for their high schools. The girls’ hockey season at the high school level in Maine ends in the middle February, which allowed a full month for the Junior Pirates to get ready for the New England regional tournament.
“When we first started off I didn’t think we would actually get here because we don’t practice that often and we don’t play together that often,” Libby said. “This team has grown and developed as a unit over the season. So I am happy we got a chance [to go to nationals].”
The chemistry just grew the last month.
“We’ve had a lot of practices the last few weeks,” Roy said. “We’ve been working together as one. We’ve been trying to figure out this is where you are going to be on this play and everything. Because we are so skilled as a team we already have that mentality.”
16U Vermont Shamrocks shine on St. Patrick’s Day
For the third season in a row, the Vermont Shamrocks won a New England Tier II 16U championships, and they did it on St. Patrick’s day.
Vermont overcame the New Hampshire Lady Cyclones 3-0 to reach the national tournament in San Jose. Corrina Cota, Rachael Morse, and Chelsea Ellis scored for Vermont in the championship game.
The Shamrocks went 5-0 throughout the district tournament at the Bank of Maine Ice Vault in Hallowell.
The Lady Cyclones advanced to he championship game with a 4-1 win over the Connecticut Polar Bears, including two goals on the power play.
The first goal came from Ashley Zanniai to give the Cyclones the 2-0 lead. Alex Green recorded the second shorthanded goal to give the Cyclones the 3-0 lead. Kaylie DeCosmo had the first goal of the game and added the empty netter.
Co-coach Darren DeCosmo stated it was a team effort.
“We play as a team, the people that go out on the ice give the best they got,” said Darren DeCosmo. “We don’t like to be down.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Girls Tier II
14U: Connecticut Ice Cats
16U: Vermont Shamrocks
19U: Portland Junior Pirates