IRVINE, Calif. – Kate Binnie has a simple recipe for her team’s success.
“Kill ’em with speed,” said the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 14U team. “Speed, speed, speed.”
The Mid-Am District champion used this simple formula to punch their ticket to the 2019 Chipolte USA Hockey National Championships. Now they’re revved up and ready to see how far it will take them.
In what had been a back-and-forth affair for the better part of two and a half periods, the Pens found another gear down the stretch and hemmed the Wolf Pack deep in their own zone as they desperately fought to muster any offense that would generate the tying goal.
It was a great pace given that both teams arrived yesterday after a long flight from the east coast. For the Pens coaching staff it was a challenge to keep their players from bouncing off the walls as they waited most of the day to head over to the rink for their 5 p.m. puck drop.
If the teams were suffering from jet lag they didn’t show it once the puck dropped. It was a track meet from the start, with Amelia Molin giving Hartford an early lead after sniping a quick shot past Pens goalie Ava McNaughton. That would be the last blemish on what was an 11-save night for the netminder.
Jaidan Fahmy would get the equalizer at the 12:21 mark of the middle frame on an assist from Katherine Khramtsov.
Khramtsov would be on the receiving end of a bang-bang play early in the third period, poking the puck past Wolfpack goalie Morgan Dall.
“I would be happier to see a 5-0 game, but I’m happy to get a win against a really good opponent,” Binnie said.
Still, it was a good start to the tournament against a very tough opponent. The Penguins will face off against the San Jose Jr. Sharks, while the Wolfpack will look to rebound against the Chicago Mission.
“I thought we came out with a few nerves, especially for the younger girls playing in their first Nationals,” Binnie said. “I’m sure we’ll be better tomorrow.”
Chicago Mission 4, San Jose Jr Sharks 0
Three second-period goals broke open a close game as the Chicago Mission marched to tough 4-0 victory over a spunky San Jose Jr Sharks squad. Kelly Gorbatenko’s first-period tally was more than enough offense for goalie Tayler Hannafan, but goals by Brynn Levinson, Rosie Klein and Stacy Steiner provided a bit of cushion for the Mission, who outshot the Sharks, 36-4.
North Shore Vipers 5 , Buffalo Bisons 1
Mia Langlois set the pace with a pair of first-period goals as the Boston-based Vipers came out the victor in what was an even game between two east contest clubs. Shea Frost added a power-play goal in the second period to provide some cushion for Davon Galizio, who stopped 22 shots for the Vipers. Ella Huntley’s power-play goal was all the offense the Bisons could muster.
MN Hockey D10 Green Giants 15, Washington Pride 0
In a matchup between the first and 16thseeds, the defending champs from Minnesota lived up to their top billing with a dominating performance. Lauren O’Hara paced the offensive attack as 16 different Green Giants found the scoresheet.
Little Caesars 5, Team North Dakota 0
Olivia Lumpiesz faced only seven shots thanks to a stifling defense as Little Caesars put together a total team effort to cruise to victory. Three first-period goals from Kaia Malachino, Abigail McCallion and Ava Stevenson set the pace for Little Caesars. Claire Leonard and Elyssa Biederman also found the back of the net. Kendra Nordick turned in a 36-save effort for North Dakota.
Assabet Valley 5, NJ Titans 0
Hayley Kelleher scored a pair of goals, and Antonina Dinges added a goal and an assist to support the 16-save shutout performance of Anya Zupkofska. Assabet used a three-goal second period to break open a tight-checking contest against the Titans. Sophia Ensley and Charlotte Wensley also scored for the Massachusetts representative.
East Coast Wizards 5, Dallas Stars Elite 1
Angelina DiGirolamo scored a pair of goals, and her twin sister Lucia added a goal and an assist to lead the Wizards to the win. Daphnee Kalogeropoulos and Ainsley Moulton shared time between the pipes to stymie the Dallas offense.
Chicago Young Americans 4, Anaheim Lady Ducks 1
Courtney Schumacher paced the Chicago attack with a goal and two assists, and Tatum Blacker stopped 14 shots in a winning effort. Alejandra Ubarri’s power-play goal in the second period snapped a 1-1 tie, and Greta Kropp added an insurance marker.