WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — This was it, one last chance for a shot at the 2019 Chipotle-USA Hockey Girls Tier II National Championships with girls vying for those precious slots featuring the best hockey teams in the country in three age groups.
By the end of the three-day USA Hockey Southeastern District Tournament at AdventHealth Center Ice in Wesley Chapel, Fla., those three champions were crowned and now will head to Amherst, New York, April 4-8 for a shot at a national title.
“The facility’s phenomenal, that’s why we wanted it here,” Cindy Friedman, co-chairperson of the tournament, said of the two-year-old ice and sports complex located in west central Florida. “Good people, good facility and the hockey’s been phenomenal. This is the place to be.”
In all, it was a great weekend for Florida Alliance, as the girls won titles at 14U and 16U. It was a great weekend for the association as a whole, as the boys also competed in the same venue, with their 14U squad winning a title.
This is how it all went down at AdventHealth Center Ice March 8-10.
Florida Alliance wins narrow victory in 16U
Two of the championship games at the Southeastern District tournament were decided by narrow victories, and the 16U title game was one of those. But it was surprising given how the Florida Alliance girls had gotten there.
Florida Alliance had a relatively easy cruise to the title game, dispatching opponents by a combined score of 17-3. Included in that was a 4-1 opening win over Carolina Elite Prospects, whom they met in a rematch in the championship.
This time things were much closer as Florida edged Carolina Elite 2-1 for the Girls Tier II 16U title.
Carolina Jr. Hurricanes bounce back to take 19U title
After opening the Southeastern District Tournament with two wins, the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes found themselves in an overtime battle in their third game against the Northern Virginia (NOVA) Ice Dogs. NOVA went on to take a 6-5 win in overtime.
But the loss was just a minor setback, as the Hurricanes had more than enough points to advance to the championship. There, they got a chance for revenge as they met NOVA again. The Hurricanes indeed got that revenge, defeating NOVA 2-1.
Florida Alliance storms through 14U tournament to title
Much like their 16U counterparts, the 14U Florida Alliance girls had little trouble en route to the championship game. They opened on Thursday with a 9-0 rout of the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, and followed that up with an 11-0 win over the Northern Virginia Ice Dogs.
The Alliance allowed just a single goal before the title game in a 12-1 win over Saddlebrook. The championship was a rematch of the tournament opener — and the ninth time the teams had met this season — but this time in a much closer affair. The Alliance topped the Jr. Hurricanes 4-1 to book a nationals berth.