WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — The goalie rotation got thrown out of whack, but that did nothing to dissuade the Carolina Hurricanes from rallying from a one-goal deficit for a 2-1 win over the rival North Virginia Ice Dogs Sunday in the championship game of the USA Hockey Southeastern District Girls Tier II 19U Tournament.
“Emotionally and mentally draining, but it was exciting,” Carolina coach Jason Dawe said of his team’s comeback victory in a game in which all three goals came in the third period. “There was a lot more importance to it. We don’t win today, we don’t go to nationals. The intensity in the building was unbelievable this weekend.”
By winning the Southeastern District title at the three-day tournament in west central Florida, Carolina advances to the Chipotle-USA Hockey National Championships for a second straight season. This time, however, the team returns a solid nucleus of 13 players from last season aiming for better results. The Hurricanes did not win a game in last year’s national championships.
“We’ll be ready this year,” said Dawe, noting that the Hurricanes have won three of four tournaments they entered this season, and adding that making it back to nationals “is quite an accomplishment when you think about it. The nucleus of our team has gone to nationals, so they know what to expect now. They’re committed, they’re determined. They play well as a team in general.”
“I’m really happy that we get a chance to go back,” said goaltender Anna Friendshuh, who was initially tabbed to start but was sidelined after twisting her right ankle during pregame warmups. “The people who have been there know what to expect. It’s going to be important for us to see if we can do a little bit better this time.”
With Friendshuh out, Courtney Raynor got her third start in four games in the series between the pipes and the coach and her fellow goalie lauded her for a solid game. Afterward, there were tears of joy, perhaps even more so from Friendshuh.
“At first I was really frustrated that I got hurt right before I was about to start, but my team rallied and Courtney played great,” said Friendshuh, who watched her teammates from the bench.
Aside from the goalies, the Hurricanes rallied on a pair of late goals for the clutch win. Grace Mayer sent a stretch pass to Sophie Trentini, who scored the tying goal by beating the Ice Dogs netminder through the five-hole. Jessica Dawe, the coach’s daughter, stole the puck on an aggressive forecheck before sending a pass to Abby Radcliffe, who netted the game-winner on a backhander.
The Hurricanes also defeated a Florida team 6-3 and the Nashville Junior Predators 2-0 before losing 6-5 to the Ice Dogs in a game that did not matter so much since Carolina and North Virginia had already clinched spots in the division final.
“As a coach, I was kind of OK with losing there, because it gave us some incentive for payback,” Dawe said.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.