AMHERST, N.Y. — It is often said that when you have a second chance, you better make the most of it.
The final game of the 2019 Chipotle-USA Hockey Girls Tier II 19U National Championship contained two teams who were given a second chance.
Both the Concord NH Capitals and the Boston Jr. Eagles failed to win their respective USA Hockey District Tournament. Yet, they both received a second chance in the form of an at-large bid.
In the battle of second chance teams, it was the Boston Jr. Eagles that ultimately prevailed, 6-1.
Perhaps, having a second chance makes you better understand how tough it is to go all the way.
“We had to go through a lot of tough teams, both of us did,” Boston
coach Peter Seibold said.
His assistant, Mark Wall, who Seibold considers his co-coach, added, “It's a tough tournament. It's like a war of attrition. It's tough on the body. It's a will to win.”
Concord coach Charles Sisson was equally impressed with their respective paths, saying, “Both of these teams are at-large bid teams. We didn't win our region. And that's impressive to have those two teams be in the finals.”
The first period was the hardest-fought period of the game. Despite Boston jumping out to a two-goal lead on tallies by Elizabeth MacMurray, Concord came right back 20 seconds later to cut the lead in half. Mikah Baptiste got the only Capitals goal.
“Concord took it to us in the first period,” Seibold said. “We were on our heels. But the girls woke up in the second, really turned it on, played smart hockey, moved the puck as a team, and kept going.”
“It was going to be a tough battle from the beginning,” Sisson said. “We knew that. We played them four times this year. We split. They were one-goal games.”
Two more goals in the second by Madi Morton on the power play and Nicole Pollis allowed the Jr. Eagles to grab control of the game.
Boston also scored a pair of goals in the third period. Caroline Guden's close-range shot took a weird bounce into the net.
In the final minutes, Boston perfectly executed a two-on-one. Pollis on the left shot passed it across the slot to Melissa Macri who quickly one-timed it in.
Despite six goals allowed Monday, and five in the semifinals the evening before, Seibold considers his team a defense-first group.
“We concentrate on defense first,” he said. “They backcheck like no other team, and then once we get the puck out of the zone, they move the puck. The goals kept coming because they were moving the puck.”
Boston split their goalies equally. Victoria Kennedy started, making seven saves, letting up the lone goal. Lydia Rascher finished, stopping all 12 shots she faced.
Despite the loss, Concord was proud of their achievement after getting a second chance.
“Why not?” Sisson explained. “They achieved something from day one ‘til now. There is no team in New Hampshire that has made it this far in the girls program. A lot of girls never get to play in this tournament. And this is the third time in four years this team has been here.
Meanwhile, Boston took the second chance afforded them and made the most of it, knowing what it takes with their lesson learned.
“They work hard in both ends,” Seibold said. “They are an unselfish team.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.