IRVINE, Calif. – It’s hard to say any team that goes undefeated through the preliminary round has flown under the radar, but the Boston Jr. Eagles have quietly gone about their business at the 2019 Chipolte USA Hockey Girls Tier I 19U National Championships.
Along the way they’ve dispatched their first three opponents by a combined score of 15-3 to win the Olympic division. And now the heavy lifting begins.
“We’re playing hard out there and we’ve gotten better every day,” said head coach Mike Mullowney. “Still, we’ve come nowhere near playing our best hockey, which I guess is a positive.”
That depends on which side of the face-off dot you’re lining up at. If you’re a fan of the second-seeded Eagles, that’s a good thing. If you’re one of the three potential opponents standing in the way of a national championship title, it’s not a very comforting thought.
The Eagles wrapped up preliminary round play with a dominating 3-1 victory over Detroit Honeybaked. The scoreboard only told half of the story. The Eagles held a distinct shot advantage, 44-17, and things would have been much worse if not from the heroic efforts of Honeybaked goalie Haley Doyle.
“Hats off to Honeybaked,” Mullowney said. “They played their hearts out today. Especially their goalie. She was outstanding.”
Needing a win to keep their hopes alive, Honeybaked jumped out to a lead when Kendall Wasik’s blast from the point slide through a maze of sticks and skates and snuck past Eagles goaltender Caroline Kukas for a power-play goal.
Honeybaked was poised to add to that lead on the power play but Gaby Roy picked off a pass and fed Lilly Feeney who put it in the back of the net to even the score.
Feeney was back at it again, this time with the Eagles on the power play, as she followed up her own shot and poked the rebound past Doyle.
The Eagles put the game on ice at the end of a 5-on-3 power play as Maya Manglafico poked home a rebound off a Taze Thompson shot.
As one of the many split season teams competing in the tournament, the Eagles have had to come together on short notice to compete against other teams that have been together for a full season. They punched their ticket to Nationals winning the Bay State playoffs back in November and then players headed off to their high school and prep school teams. Mullowney and his coaching staff had four practices to get their players to gel.
Based on their performance so far in Southern California, they did a great job.
Mid-Fairfield Stars 5, Anaheim Lady Ducks 3
The Stars aligned on the final day of the preliminary round to earn their first victory of the tournament as five different players found the back of the net. Trailing 2-1 heading into the final frame, the Stars score four times in the third period to earn the victory. Two of those goals from Jessica Shriver and Georgia Kraus came with the Lady Ducks on the power play. Anna Gallagher paced the Ducks attack with a goal and an assist.
NJ Colonials 2, Culver Academy 0
Courtney DeNaut stopped 18 shots, and Emily Abruzzese led the way at the offensive end with a goal and an assist as the NJ Colonials punched their ticket into the quarterfinals where they will face the top-seeded Shattuck-St. Mary’s.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s 7, Rochester Youth Hockey 2
Sydney Brezza’s hat trick paced the high-powered Shattuck-St. Mary’s offense to the third straight win for the defending champs. Lacey Eden and Casey O’Brien each contributed a goal and an assist, while Eliana Ray faced only nine shots in goal. Kiara Zanon and Emma Conner scored for Rochester. Shattuck will face the NJ Colonials in the quarterfinals, while Rochester has a date with the Boston Jr Eagles.
Dallas Stars Elite 7, Washington Pride 6
The Dallas Stars scored five goals in the second period to break open a tie game, and then held on for their first win of the tournament. Mika Jahnke led the offensive attack with two goals and an assist. Allison Curry paced the Pride with a hat trick, including two that came in the final 90 seconds when they pulled their goaltender in favor of an extra attacker.
Belle Tire 3, East Coast Wizards 1
Samantha Smigilani scored her fourth goal of the tournament in the second period to snap a 1-1 tie and lift Belle Tire to their third win. Abby Latorella and Delaney Couture traded first-period goals, and Anna Segedi added an insurance marker on the power play. Hannah Turnage stopped 18 shots for the win. Belle Tire draws the CT Polar Bears in the quarterfinals, while the Wizards will take on the Chicago Mission.
Chicago Mission 3, CT Polar Bears 1
Abbey Murphy scored all three goals for the Mission as they ran their record in the preliminary round to 3-0-0. Annie Spring stopped 11 shots for the win, surrendering only a second-period goal to Luisa Weicke. The Mission will take on the East Coast Wizards in the quarterfinals.
San Jose Jr Sharks 4, Team North Dakota 3, SO
Ella Hedman banked a shot off the post and into the net to lift the San Jose Jr Sharks to a shootout victory. Team North Dakota forward Abby Promerberger scored twice in the third period to erase two-goal deficit. Claire Peterson paced the Sharks with a goal and an assist. Victoria Scurto and Maxx Goodman also scored in the shootout, and Soleil Archambeault stopped three of four shots for the Sharks.