IRVINE, Calif. – Death, taxes and Shattuck-St. Mary’s in the 19U Girls championship game. Few things in the world can be more certain.
The defending champs took another step toward defending their crown with a 4-1 victory over Belle Tire at 2019 Chipotle-USA Hockey Girl Tier I National Championships. They will face off against the Boston Jr. Eagles, which gutted out a gritty 3-2 win over the Chicago Mission in overtime.
Hadley Hartmetz and McKenzie Hauswirth scored 41 seconds apart in the first period, which was more than enough offense to support the 27-save performance of Suzette Faucher.
Hartmetz’s goal came when Brooke Bink picked up a bouncing puck at center ice and backhanded a pass the pinballed onto the stick of Hartmetz, who didn’t miss.
Hauswirth fished a loose puck out of scramble in the slot and deposited it into the net for her third goal of the tournament.
Belle Tire cut the lead in half early in the middle frame when Mikayla Lantto’s shot from an impossible angle somehow snuck over Faucher’s shoulder.
Any thoughts of a Belle Tire comeback were snuffed out by Hannah Bilka, who added a pair of goals in the second period.
The first came when Belle Tire goalie Hannah Turnage stopped Taylor Stewart’s wrist shot but couldn’t cover up the puck before Bilka pounced on the rebound. Her second goal came on perfectly placed shot that found the far corner of the net.
After that it was only a matter of time before Shattuck would be moving on and Belle Tire was heading home.
Monday’s matchup will be a clash of two programs that employed different philosophies to get here.
The Eagles are one of many split-season teams competing at Nationals. They played the prescribed number of games early in the season and were crowned the Massachusetts State Champions during a tournament that wrapped up around Thanksgiving. At that point players went on to compete for their high school or prep school teams before reuniting several weeks ago.
The Eagles had four practices before boarding the long cross-country flight to the West Coast. It’s a testament to their talent and some fine coaching that they continue to get better every day.
“This will be the first time we’ve played Shattuck at Nationals,” said Eagles head coach Mike Mullowney. “This who we wanted to face in the finals. We know they’re a great team, but if you’re going to be the best you have to beat the best.”
Headquartered out of Faribault, Minn., Shattuck is one of the premier prep schools in the country. A number of their players have enjoyed many seasons playing together, and it shows on the ice. They have 15 seniors on their roster who have long histories wearing the maroon and white, including three who have been together since the eighth grade.
“We have a motto at Shattuck, ‘You play for the love of the game. The score is an artificial indicator of your success,’” said Shattuck head coach Gordie Stafford. “We’ve been successful here at Nationals but it’s the end result of what we’re really trying to achieve with our players and our teams.”
The undefeated Boston Jr. Eagles continue to find ways to win. Regardless of how they do it, they are one win away from the goal they set way back in September. This split-season team continue to improve throughout the course of the tournament, which has been bad news for their opponents.
Against at the Chicago Mission, the Eagles waged one of their grittiest efforts so far against a battle-tested opponent.
Lily Humphrey gave the Eagles an early lead when she poked in a rebound off Mary Edmonds point shot at the 9:20 mark of the first period.
Gabbie Cox made it 2-0 with the first of her two goals when she fought off two Mission defenders to beat Annie Spring with a backhand shot.
Mission clawed back on goals from Kaitlyn Ehmann and Madeline Dunham, the later coming with 4 minutes remaining in regulation.
In the extra session, Cox was back at it, plucking a loose puck out of a goalmouth scrum and flicking it over a sprawling Spring.
“I’m so proud of our team. We have such a great group of girls,” said head coach Mike Mullowney. “Lord knows it hasn’t been easy. We’ve had to fight for every win. We’ve earned every one of them.”
There were very few surprises but plenty of drama as the top four seeds in the 19U division advanced to the semifinals of the 2019 Chipolte USA Hockey Girls Tier I National Championships.
The defending champs from Shattuck-St. Mary’s continued to live up to their top billing, but know there’s no easy road to repeat. The other three semifinal participants, Boston Jr. Eagles, Chicago Mission and Belle Tire, have run the table here this week and look poised to knock Shattuck off the top of the podium.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s 6, NJ Colonials 1
NJ Colonials forward Melanie Conca’s goal 46 seconds into the game turned out to be just the wakeup call Shattuck-St. Mary’s needed to kick it into gear and cruise to victory. Trailing for the first time in the tournament, Shattuck’s Makenna Webster found the back of the net at the 14:44 mark to even the score after the first period. Lacey Eden took over from there, netting a hat trick to propel her squad into the semifinals where they meet Belle Tire. Eden and Grace Lee scored 38 seconds apart in the second period to snap the tie, and Suzette Faucher took over from there, stopping 11 shots to seal the victory.
Belle Tire 2, CT Polar Bears 1, OT
In a game low in scoring but high in drama, Danielle Hartje scored 39 seconds into overtime to send Belle Tire into the semifinals. Anna Segedi snapped a scoreless tie at the 12-minute mark of the final period with her tournament-leading eighth goal to give Belle Tire the lead. That looked to be all the cushion Hannah Turage would need, but Lilli Welcke’s goal in the final minute gave the Polar Bears new life. Next up for Belle Tire will be the top-seeded Shattuck-St. Mary’s.
Boston Jr. Eagles 2, Rochester Youth Hockey 1
The Boston Jr. Eagles definitely have the gift of Gab thanks to the stellar play of Gabbie Cox and Gaby Roy. These two dynamic forwards teamed up for a pair of goals to keep their national championship hopes alive after escaping with a comeback victory. Roy converted a Cox pass at the end of a 5-on-3 power play to erase an early deficit after Lauren Berard had given Rochester the lead. With less than two minutes remaining, Roy picked up the puck in her own end, steamrolled down the wing and fed a beautiful pass over to Cox who slipped it past Rochester goaltender Marie Dedert for the winning goal.
Chicago Mission 5, East Coast Wizards 2
If there was any doubt that Abbey Murphy deserved a spot with the 2019 U.S. Women’s Under-18 Team, she’s put that to rest with a dominating performance here this week. The University of Minnesota commit scored her tournament-leading ninth goal and added an assist as the Mission continued on its quest to dethrone Shattuck-St. Mary’s as the national champions. Ella Huber also had a goal and an assist, and Josey Dunne pitched in with three helpers to support Abby Wieczorek’s 21-save performance. The Mission moved one step closer to a potential showdown with Shattuck, but have a tough Boston Jr. Eagles team standing in their way.