MARLBOROUGH, Mass. -- Assabet Valley scored two power play goals on Sunday to defeat rival Shattuck-St. Mary’s for its third straight 19-and-Under title at the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier I Girls National Championships.
The victory at the New England Sports Center was Assabet’s fourth in five years in the 19U age division. Shattuck won it five times between 2005 and 2011.
This year, Assabet’s home-state advantage over its rival from Minnesota was magnified by the fact that it had four girls who just returned on Monday from Team USA’s trip to the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship in Budapest, Hungary. Shattuck had five players on the same team.
“Being able to be with my family [after returning from Budapest] was really nice,” said Assabet’s Kenzie Kent, who scored the game’s first goal on a power play at the 14:20 mark of the second period, less than a week after helping Team USA win silver in Hungary.
Lauren Kelly’s power play goal at the 3:58 mark of the third period iced the game.
“I got the pass and I saw the girl diving at me, so I just shot it as quickly as I could and I went flying over her,” said Kelly, who will play for Northeastern University next year. “It kind of hurt, but it was exhilarating seeing everyone charging at me. I didn’t know [I scored] because I was on the ice.
“I just heard the crowd cheering. It still hurt, but it was a nice feeling.”
Alicia Barry assisted on the first goal and Lexie Laing assisted on both goals. Laing, who along with Assabet teammates Rebecca Gilmore and Caitrin Lonegran also traveled to Budapest with Team USA, said it was awesome to win in her final season with the team with so many fellow seniors.
“It’s amazing to win with everyone as our last game, and it’s very special to beat Shattuck,” said the Harvard University-bound Noble and Greenough senior who won her second straight 19U title.
Laing’s father Denis Laing coached each of the 19U championships victories.
“It’s always nice to win, and it’s always a different group of kids,” he said. “This one is bittersweet for me because it’s with my last daughter that is going to be at this level ever again. I’ve had three daughters, and they’ve all gone through this. The first time we beat Shattuck, my oldest daughter was there. Last year, my next one was there. Well, last year two daughters were there.”
Shattuck sent Patricia Marshall, Maddie Rolfes, Melissa Samoskevich, Brooke Ahbe and Baylee Wellhausen to play for Team USA in Budapest.
An emotionally exhausted Wellhausen, who was just named USA Today’s Player of the Year, admitted that the jet lag finally caught up to her in Sunday’s championship game — especially coming off a 3-2 triple-overtime semifinal victory against Honey Baked.
“In the beginning [of the tournament] I didn’t really feel it at all,” Wellhausen, who will play for the University of Wisconsin in the fall, said with bloodshot eyes from crying so hard after the game. “Personally I think we played our hearts out till the end. Even everyone who had jetlag, we just worked and it just didn’t go our way.”
Her coach, Gordon Stafford, said their team was also banged up with injuries coming into the tournament. He said three weeks ago they only had eight players at practice.
“When you go into a tournament like this you need a long bench and you need the hockey gods to kind of smile on you a little bit,” he said. “We had to blow a lot of fuel in our game against Honey Baked because they were so good. Then you only have so much energy going into the final.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
The Dorchester Chiefs won a hard-fought USA Hockey National Championship, beating the Hollydell Hurricanes 3-2 to win the Tier II 18 & Under Conference 4A title game on Sunday in Rochester, N.Y.
Dorchester was challenged throughout the National Tournament. Five of the Chiefs’ six games were decided by two goals or fewer. In fact, the only game with a comfortable margin was their tournament-opening 7-2 victory over Hollydell, which played Dorchester much closer in the rematch.
Dorchester built a 3-0 lead after two periods, then held on to survive a Hollydell rally. The Hurricanes scored twice in the final nine minutes, including a goal that cut the margin to one with 35.9 seconds remaining.
Dorchester killed four of five penalties in the final 10:22 and Chiefs goalie Sal Tecci stopped a half dozen shots in a furious final minute of play.
“That last minute,” said Tecci, shaking his head in disbelief. “The goal they got with 30 seconds left, I didn’t even see it. I was screened on the play.”
“Then, after that, they were just all over us,” continued Tecci. “I just did my best to stop everything. Then, with about five seconds left, someone had the puck and got wide open right in front of me. My heart just stopped. Somehow, I just managed to get a glove on it.”
“You’d much rather see the puck down at the other end, I’ll tell you that,” Dorchester coach Ross Pasquantonio said. “All of us were holding our collective breath on the bench, watching the clock. There’s nothing else you can do.”
“It’s typical of them, taking it to the last minute and putting everyone on edge,” Pasquantonio continued.
The game didn’t start off as a nail-biter. Dorchester scored twice in the first three minutes of the game and seemed on track to match their comfortable win over Hollydell in the tournament opener.
Mike Lopez started the scoring 1:32 into the game with a goal from Nick Bligh. It was Lopez’s fifth goal of Nationals. Combined with his team-leading eight assists, Lopez ended up as the leading scorer for the Chiefs. Bligh recorded his seventh assist of the tournament, good for second on Dorchester.
A minute and 18 seconds later, Joe Dipietro scored his first goal of Nationals, helped by Mike Sullivan’s first assist.
In the second period, Dipietro fed Sullivan to give Dorchester a 3-0 lead. It was Sullivan’s fifth goal and Dipietro’s second assist.
The offensive show was a surprise for Dorchester, who depended on a small group of players for most of the tournament.
“We basically played the whole tournament with two lines,” Pasquantonio said.
The Chiefs got 25 of their 28 goals from five players and 32 of their 40 assists from six.
Part of the reason the Chiefs went a little deeper into their bench in the title game was their late night in the semifinals.
“The game lasted until 12:30 (Saturday) night,” Tecci said. “We went to overtime. We didn’t get to bed until about 2:30.”
“It was just a lucky break that we didn’t get a 10 a.m. start today,” Pasquantonio said of the team’s 1 p.m. start, the last of the four championship games played on Sunday.
One area where Dorchester didn’t go deep into the depth chart was between the pipes. Tecci played every minute of all six games, making Dorchester the only team in the finals not to use their backup netminder at any point in the tournament.
“I was brought in to be the main goalie,” Tecci said with a shrug, “but yeah, I guess I’m pretty beat. I saw a lot of shots.”
Tecci stopped an eye-popping 190 shots, including 34 in the championship game.
“Sal was the backbone of our team,” Pasquantonio said. “We needed him in order to get where we are. He’s the best I’ve ever coached. He has a bright future.”
Hollydell made things interesting in the third period as Dorchester seemed to show signs of a tough six days of hockey. Mike Schwer scored with 8:40 remaining in the game for his first tally of the tournament. Christopher Carnivale assisted.
Kevin Kiehner added the goal in the final minute that set up the frantic ending. It was his first goal of Nationals. James Privito contributed his team-leading fifth assist.
Dorchester was unbeaten on their way to the title game. After beating Hollydell in the opener, they beat Mt. Clemens 4-2 and Clifton Park 6-4.
In the quarterfinals, Dorchester took out Team Toledo 6-4, then beat the Northwest Chargers in a marathon game Saturday night.
Story courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.