TROY, Mich. -- The girls of Wisconsin Selects 16U play a long season of hockey that begins way back in August.
In years like this one that include advancing to the USA Hockey Girls Tier II National Championships in April, that’s almost nine straight months on the ice.
“It is a lot of hockey for the girls,” said assistant coach David Fritz. “It’s kind of a challenge to keep them excited when they return, but the girls love to be with each other and that keeps them coming back.”
The Wisconsin Selects operate what they call a pre/post program.
Tryouts take place in May and June and the season begins with the Selects team around the middle of August. The team plays about 25 games, which runs through the beginning of November. The girls then part ways and return to their respective high school teams.
The high school season ends around March and the girls then return to the Selects team for the state tournament, state championship, USA Hockey Central District Tournament and then nationals if they qualify.
“We have about 35 high school teams and our current roster represents about 16 teams,” explained Fritz, who has a resume of coaching for over twenty years. “When they return to our team following the completion of their high school season, we as coaches don’t do much other than provide little tips to their game because we don’t want to re-program what their high school coaches have taught them.”
Reaching nationals has given them reason to get motivated and re-charge their batteries.
“They are very happy to be here and they love hockey better then school, says Wisconsin Head Coach Megan Bailey. “I told the girls prior to coming here that this is a business trip and that we are after something a little more.”
The Vermont Shamrocks 16U team runs a unique goalie rotation that gives both goalies the same amount of ice time.
Head Coach Mark Gleason also runs four lines during each game, which gives every player on the team similar ice time. It’s perhaps not a system that would work for every team, but it works for the Shamrocks, and living proof is that they are making their second consecutive appearance at nationals.
“We have two goalies, Leocadia Clark and Madeleine Hungerford,” said Gleason. “They are both top notch goalies and we keep the playing time dead even as possible.”
The two-goalie system works with one goaltender starting and playing for the first two periods. At the start of the third period, the goalie switch occurs and the second goaltender comes in for one period and starts the next game in similar fashion, backstopping the team in period one and two.
Gleason has all the confidence in his team and does not do anything differently when playing a team for the first time, which is common when playing during nationals.
“We just go out and play our game,” said Gleason. “We move the puck, we are aggressive on the forecheck and execute the fundamentals that we teach during practice. Do the things that have given you success in other games and at the end of the day things just work out.”
The twelve-team field produced exciting action all weekend through round robin play and into the final rounds.
The Vermont Shamrocks shut out the Princeton Tiger Llillies 6-0 in the first game on Sunday. Leocadia Clark started and turned aside 9 shots and Madeleine Hungerford replaced her in the third period stopping all 6 shots. Emma Mazzariello paced the offensive attack with two goals.
Avrey Simonson scored at 1:42 of overtime to give the Wisconsin Selects a hard fought 2-1 victory over Assabet Valley. Taylor Epperson opened the scoring with a power play goal for Wisconsin in the opening frame and Quin Healy evened the score at 7:44 of the third period.
Amber Steinhilpert had two goals and an assist to lead the way as the Anchorage North Stars eliminated the Nova Ice Dogs 5-2. Haley Battles and Siena Smith tallied for the Ice Dogs.
Three even-strength goals from Olivia Scott, Claire Tyo and Mikayla Cipullo helped the Potsdam Storm beat the Steel City Selects 3-1. Lauren Callahan scored the lone marker for Steel City.
The Vermont Shamrocks and Anchorage North Stars moved on from the semifinals to play for the national title.
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 30-April 3, 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|