While the national tournament is certainly about the hockey players, it’s also quite an experience for the rest of the family.
McAllister Dixon, a forward with the 14U Connecticut Shoreline Sharks, and her mom Jennifer are having a great time taking in the hockey and the sights.
“It’s been great and a wonderful experience coming to Troy, Michigan for the first time,” said Jennifer. “It’s a beautiful city and the hospitality has been top notch.”
McAllister has been playing hockey since she was three, and now at the age of 14, it’s a first for her at nationals.
“It’s been fun and being here as a team makes it even better,” said McAllister, who has played various positions before settling in at forward. “Having my family here means a lot and enjoying the experience together will be something that we will remember for a lifetime.”
The Shoreline Sharks have had a really good season and McAllister said the all the girls on her team have worked very hard. “We have team strength up and down our lineup, especially at the goaltender position.”
Of course, moms are going to be a little biased about their own kids, and Jennifer is no different when she talks about her daughter.
“I think she is a good player. She is really dedicated and loves to play the game of hockey.”
The state of Alaska has continued to show growth in girls’ hockey over the last eight years. The number of girls’ teams has doubled from four to eight teams, and the number of girls currently playing is at an all-time high.
“It’s getting a lot bigger thanks to a community wide effort,” said Mark Engan, head coach of the 14U Alaska Pioneers. “We currently have four teams at the 14U level, three at the 16U and one 19U team. Compared to other places that does not seem like much, but for us it’s a big increase and the program is still growing.”
There are also quite a few girls playing between the ages of 10-12 and Engan stated that they are “finally in a place where we can sustain hockey programs for the girls.”
The hockey program consists of three different communities: Wasilla, Palmer and Eagle River, and the three cities have a combined total of four rinks while Anchorage has five.
This is the first appearance for the 14U team at the USA Hockey Girls Tier II National Championships, and Engan said the girls are having the time of their lives and enjoying every minute of it.
“It’s such a great experience for the girls and we are so proud of them. The community has a sense of pride as well and they showed it by helping out with the cost through donations and fundraisers.”
The three-game round robin, along with the first round of the single elimination playoffs, saw a lot of exciting action.
Eight teams from the field of twelve advanced to the playoffs.
The Bay State Breakers, behind a late third period goal from Rose Harvey, eliminated the North Shore Vipers 2-1. Sarah Geran scored the lone goal for the Vipers.
In a high scoring affair, the Shoreline Sharks outlasted the Princeton Tiger Lillies 5-4. Taylor Nowak scored twice for the Sharks. The leading goal scorer during the round robin, Gia Massari, scored a pair of goals for the Tiger Lillies.
Kensington Valley beat the Nova Ice Dogs 4-1 behind single tallies from Allyson Richards, Sydney Butka, Makenzie Villiard and Julianna Cushing. Sara Burr scored the only goal for the Ice Dogs.
The Black Cats knocked off the MCYH Edge 5-2. Quinn Winkoski lead the way with two goals for the Black Cats from Wisconsin.
The Sharks and Black Cats made it through the semifinals to meet for the national title game.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
|Youth Tier I (14U)||Scottsdale, Arizona||Arizona Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier I (15-year-olds only)||Scottsdale, Arizona||Arizona Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier I (16U, 18U)||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||Pittsburgh Penguins Elite||April 6-10, 2017|
|Girls Tier I||Rochester/Macomb, Michigan||HoneyBaked Hockey Club||April 6-10, 2017|
|Women's A, B, C||Rochester/Macomb, Michigan||HoneyBaked Hockey Club||April 6-9, 2017|
|High School||Cleveland, Ohio||Cleveland Suburban Hockey||March 22-26, 2017|
|Girls Tier II||Troy, Michigan||Troy Youth Hockey Association||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (14U)||Coral Springs, Florida||Florida Panthers Ice Den||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (16U)||Frisco, Texas||Texas Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (18U)||Lansing, Michigan||Lansing Hockey Club||April 6-10, 2017|
|Sled||San Jose, California||Sharks Ice||April 6-9, 2017|
|Adult Rec Men's||Wesley Chapel, Florida||Florida Hospital Center Ice||April 20-23, 2017|
|Adult Rec Women's||Ellenton, Florida||Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex||April 27-30, 2017|