HALLOWELL, ME — For the Vermont Shamrocks Tier II 16-and-Under girls’ team, the third time was the charm.
In 2011 and 2012, the organization sent a team to the New England Tier II 16U championship game, but both times that team fell just short of reaching the USA Hockey National Championships.
On St. Patrick’s Day, the Shamrocks broke that streak when they defeated the New Hampshire Lady Cyclones 3-0 in the New England final at the Bank of Maine Ice Vault. The squad will play at the USA Hockey National Championships beginning April 3 in San Jose, Calif.
The Shamrocks make their way to San Jose with a 24-7-2 record that includes a perfect 6-0 record in the New England district tournament.
“The kids are certainly are excited for sure, and they are certainly a tight group,” Shamrocks coach Patrick Burke said. “They support each other on and off the ice, and some of these girls play for different scholastic teams. It’s always special when they come together. It has been a great weekend for us, and we are looking forward to the nationals.”
The coincidental qualifying date was not lost on the players.
“It’s pretty cool to be the Shamrocks and win on St. Patrick’s Day,” said Jade Remillard.
Corrina Cota, Rachael Morse, and Chelsea Ellis scored the goals against the Lady Cyclones. Hayley Martini and Taylor Morley assisted on Cota’s goal to put Vermont up 1-0. Remillard added a helper on Morse’s goal.
“[The Cyclones] are one of the few teams we had played in the regular season, and they gave us a battle every time,” Burke said.
The Shamrocks defeated the Cyclones 4-0 on Sept. 9. On Oct. 13 the teams played a doubleheader during which the Cyclones defeated the Shamrocks 2-1 in game one before the Shamrocks defeated the Cyclones 8-1 in the second contest.
The Shamrocks play a split season that starts in September. When the high school season gets going in Vermont, their club season goes on a hiatus until the high school season is over. For five Shamrocks, the high school season didn’t end until three days before the district tournament.
When the Shamrocks had their only practice before the tournament, they only had nine players who could make it. The rest of their teammates were still in the playoffs for their high school teams.
Martini, who had a goal earlier in the day in the 3-0 victory over the Mid-Fairfield Connecticut Stars in the semifinals, had the game-winning goal in the Vermont Division II state championship game for Harwood Union High School.
She knew the Shamrocks would pick up where they left off in the fall.
“I think our team from the beginning is very close,” Martini said. “We all have been playing together for a long time. So when we came back, it’s not like we hadn’t been away from each other for long because we are so close.”
Just like Martini, Remillard also won a state championship with Bellows Free Academy St. Albans. She racked up an assist as her school captured the Division I crown.
“It was unreal, it was crazy winning a state championship for my high school, to come here and do it all again with a bunch of great athletes, it was unreal,” Remillard said.
Remillard also said it wasn’t that difficult to get back in the swing of things with the Shamrocks because of the talent on the roster and the fact everybody was still in game shape from the high school season.
“We all wanted it really bad,” Remillard said. “It was easy to come here and just work our butts off.”
For Burke, they have a few housekeeping issues to take of before heading out to California.
“Remortgage the house and fundraise,” Burke joked. “We will get these girls on the ice a few times. A lot of them live relatively close enough.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.