LITTLETON, Colo. — It was 12:23 a.m. local time Sunday morning, 1:23 back home in Dallas, Texas, where Madison Lawson would’ve no doubt been asleep already, but she had good reason to be awake.
The 19-year-old forward/defenseman was busy scoring a hat trick, helping her 19U Tier I Dallas Stars Elite to a 7-1 win in the final of the USA Hockey Rocky Mountain District Tournament over Team Colorado at the Ice Ranch. The win qualified Dallas for the 2019 Chipotle-USA Hockey Girls Tier I 19U National Championship from April 4-8 in Irvine, California.
“It’s a great feeling because it’s my last year being here before going to college,” said Lawson, who’ll play hockey collegiately for Morrisville State in New York.
Dallas scored the game’s first five goals. Of the Stars’ seven goals, three came on the power play and two more while being shorthanded.
“I’m really happy for them,” said head coach Mike Salekin, a British Columbia native who played at Division I Alabama-Huntsville before six years in the ECHL. “Since they were 6 years old, they’ve worked at it. They have gained a lot of respect across the country. I’m proud of that.”
It was a nice bounce-back after Colorado evened up the best-of-three series earlier Saturday with a 5-3 victory. This was after Dallas won a back-and-forth 7-5 contest a day earlier.
“We just knew that we had to work together as a team and just fight through the adversity,” Lawson said.
Be it the Colorado altitude or a couple of injuries throughout the season, the Stars have willed their way to overcome the obstacles.
Every time Team Colorado challenged Dallas, the Stars had an answer — be it rallying in Game 1 to make it closer than initially perceived or winning Game 2 to force a decisive third game.
“Whenever they scored a goal on us, like the first goal, it kind of decreased our morale,” 15-year-old winger Mika Jahnke said after Game 1. “But, then again, it kind of didn’t at the same time. We’ve got to come back.”
Dallas beat Colorado 4-2 last month, but that had little bearing on the team’s mindset heading into districts.
“Personally before [Game 1] we all went in with the mindset that we’d never played them before and we needed to play them as hard as we could,” 17-year-old defenseman Callie Rowbottom said.
Never was that more true than in a winner-take-all situation late Saturday night into Sunday morning, and the Stars made the most of that opportunity.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.