BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The Concord Capitols began their 2016 Toyota-USA Hockey Girls Tier II National Championship bid with the No. 17 jersey of teammate Lilianna Parker of Concord, New Hampshire and Vermont Academy hanging behind the bench.
As the Capitols were opening tournament play against the Brewster (New York) Lady Bulldogs, Parker was at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center preparing to undergo a second brain surgery to alleviate seizures.
“Lilianna’s on everyone’s mind,” said coach Chris Benoit, a native Vermonter who played at Plymouth State. “Several of the girls have gone to visit her. She’s hanging in there, but she’s lost about 15 lbs. and has had a part of her skull temporarily removed for the necessary procedures.”
Parker and her Vermont Academy teammate Lotti Odnoga were both on the Capitols roster, but Odnoga, a native Hungarian from Budapest, is currently in Europe playing for the Vasas Hockey Club.
Chris Benoit’s brother Jeremy, a former University of Vermont Catamount (’88-’92), is an assistant coach along with Chuck Sisson and Dwight Sperry. Wendy Houle is the team manager.
Chris Benoit’s daughter Miranda and her cousin Isabelle are team members. Abby Houle, the lone goalie, had 18 saves in the Capitols’ opening round 4-1 win over Brewster. Seven different players figured in the scoring. Domonique Boron scored twice. Sydney Faschetta and Mikah Baptiste also had goals and Morgan Sisson, Bridget Brook, Olivia Brandi and Drea Chin had assists.
Julia Surgenor, just out of a cast for a bad ankle sprain, scored two goals in the Caps’ 9-2 win over Brick (New Jersey) Hockey Club, as did Bridget Babcock.
Wizards Survive in Overtime
In their first-round encounter, the East Coast Wizards (Massachusetts) and the Steel City Selects (Pennsylvania) scrapped to a scoreless tie through regulation and five-minute overtime before the Wizards prevailed by shootout.
Kate Shaughnessy of Westwood, Massachusetts and The Rivers School and Angelica Mushenko from East Longmeadow, Massachusetts and Pomfret School, sent shootout bids into the net.
Emma Zeveney had to make 38 saves to keep the Selects in it. She snagged a hot backhander by the Wizards’ Jayden Young in overtime and also denied Rachel DiFraia from close range. Wizard goalie Kelly Lavelle had 10 saves, including a clutch stop as Steel City’s Charleigh Wagner barreled down the slot in the final minute of regulation.
Ice Dogs Rebound After Shutout
The Northern Virginia (NOVA) Ice Dogs emerged from the Chesapeake Bay Hockey League for their first ever trip to Nationals.
The Ice Dogs were penned in by powerful Assabet Valley 6-0 in their first game as Assabet goalies Samantha Dahill and Jordan Manning combined for the shutout. They bounced back for a 3-1 second round win over the Illinois Vikings, bolstered by Sydney Stropes’ 25-save effort.
Megan Jenkins, a tri-captain along with Frances Penney and Samantha Kadlec, scored the first-ever Ice Dogs goal at nationals with an assist from Kate Danziger. Kadlec’s twin sister Margaret set up the Dogs’ second goal by Ciara Weets and then scored the final goal, unassisted.
“We’re not a high-scoring team,” coach Steven Guilbault said. “Everybody has to stand tall. Assabet was fast and we were a bit nervous on the big stage, but the girls had a blast later at the opening ceremonies and then continue to play well as they had in the final period of the first game.
“Sydney Stopes [a.k.a. Squid] is a very focused and determined goalie,” Guilbault said. “She doesn’t get surprised by shots and doesn’t let a weak goal distract her or get her down.”
Defenseman Charlotte Smith played a significant role in the Ice Dogs success this season, but was sidelined with an injury for nationals.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Two months from now, the St. Louis Blues hope to experience the thrill of winning the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time.
What happened Sunday for the Chesterfield Falcons is the equivalent of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup for an 18-year-old. Bringing another youth hockey championship to this St. Louis suburb never gets old.
The Falcons scored a late third-period goal to widen its advantage and beat the Florida Junior Panthers 3-1 in the USA Hockey Tier IIAA 18-and-Under National Championships title game at Suburban Ice Arena. The game was one of three championship matches played here on Sunday as part of the Tier II 18U championships.
It was the third time in five years that Chesterfield, which is the top-ranked 18U program in the country regardless of class or conference, won a national championship at the 18U level. All of the titles have happened in even-numbered years (2008, 2010 and this year).
[y tii 18 2a champs] “This team is typically about 90 percent new every year, maybe with four or five returning players,” Chesterfield coach Lindsay Middlebrook said. “It takes a little pressure off of having to repeat given we seem to win it every other year.”
All kidding aside, Middlebrook said the secret to the team has been how well the team has come together.
“We’ve been in one of the best Double-A hockey leagues now [Central States] for five or six years, and this year we had a really good team,” he said.
Chesterfield shut out the West Haven (Conn.) Blue Devils 6-0 in the first game before losing 2-1 to Florida in the second game of pool play. The Falcons then beat the Tri-Cities (Wash.) Junior Americans 6-1 in the final pool game before blasting the Mission (Ariz.) Ice 9-2 in the quarterfinals and edging the Richmond (Mo.) Royals 4-3 in the semifinals.
It was that loss to Florida that stuck with Nicholas Fontana. He thought about that loss as he notched the late third-period goal, off a pass from Jacob Kaufman and Nicolas Brocksmith. The shot just eluded the stick of Florida goalie Austin Luboff.
“Earlier in the year we beat Florida in two games but we lost to them here,” Fontana said. “We knew coming in that they’d play us hard, and we knew we had a big bench and could go deeper into the lineup than they could. We ended up shutting them down.”
The shot was in a perfect position for Fontana.
“I was on a long shift, and I was forechecking and I saw the puck come around the boards and I thought I’d dump it off to a teammate,” Fontana said. “Then I was already down there so I figured I might as well take the shot. We’ve talked about getting in front of the net and screening the goalie so we could get a shot, and I just had the chance.”
Florida started with a 2-1 overtime win over the South Central (Alaska) Wolves, beat Chesterfield and the Pro Ambitions Nashua (N.H.) Panther Elites 3-1 in the next pool games, and then topped Team Michiana 4-2 in quarterfinal action. In the final four Florida needed overtime for a 3-2 win over the Metro Maple Leafs.
The majority of the Florida team has not been together for years. That said, Florida coach Dana Bengston said the players did a good job of meshing together in a short time.
“As a team we got an at-large bid and we were invited to the tournament because of what we had done during the regular season,” Bengston said. “To come here as an invite to the tournament and make it to the finals… against the number one team in the country… we managed to beat the top team in round robin and it was a close game. For our kids to compete and beat them once shows a lot for the character of this team.
“These are kids who have chosen to stay in Florida and are involved in other things yet still want to play some hockey.”
Florida lost to the Junior Everblades in the state finals. The Everblades were eliminated in pool play and did not reach the quarterfinals.
Prior to Fontana’s late goal, Florida took a 1-0 lead with 5:39 to go in the first period on a Freddy Kasten power-play goal, with the assist provided by Bryan Kubota.
Chesterfield tied the score at 1-1 on a goal by Mark Jones, with assists by Wilder Politte and Jacob Kaufman, with 2:17 to go in the second period.
The score stayed tied until the third period. With 8:17 remaining Daniel Warnecke scored off assists by Nicholas Walters and Callahan Heimos, and Fontana tacked on the insurance marker.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.