AMHERST, N.Y. — The North Shore Vipers “Crazy 8” line lit up the scoreboard throughout the 2019 Chipotle-USA Hockey Girls Tier II 14U National Championships.
The line consisted of Samantha Taber (No. 8), Cabral Julia (88), and Julia Pellerin (18). The line accounted for 30 of the Vipers 44 goals en route to a national championship. Taber led the tournament in scoring with 20 points and was second in goals with 15. North Shore never scored less than five goals in a game thanks to the “Crazy 8” line.
“We have a lot of electric players on the team,” North Shore coach Michael Littlewood said. “Sammie Taber and Julia Pellerin are at the top of the list. They come up with great things. But they are also great teammates. A lot of kids of that age with that much success will go to their heads, but it hasn’t. A lot of exciting moments from both of them.”
“I love them,” Taber said of her linemates. “They are just the best. We just love playing together because we can always find each other on the ice.”
The Florida Alliance had the top goal scorer, Alexis Fitzsimmons (16) and top assist leader, Jordan Ray (16). Florida won its first four games before falling to the Boston Jr. Eagles, 4-3, in the semifinals.
Brooklyn Maddox (Little Caesars) and Gianna McCusker (Boston) each led with two shutouts. Maddox also sported a .942 save percentage, while Mikayla Bowman (Florida) had a .966 save percentage.
When it came to special teams, North Shore was just as adept with a player in the penalty box no matter which team they were on. North Shore scored seven power-play goals. They also scored seven shorthanded goals, including a whopping five in an 8-4 win against Steel City in pool play.
Thrilling finishes abound
Four round-robin games went into overtime, while no playoff game did, and all four needed a shootout to decide matters.
Little Caesars defeated the Alaska Northstars, 2-1. The first five shooters missed, leading to extra single attempts. Emily Maliszewski finally gave the Michigan team the win. Little Caesars made it to the semifinal game before losing to North Shore, 6-3.
Little Caesars also lost in a shootout, also on the sixth shooter. Madeline Krepelka got the winning shot for the Boston Jr. Eagles.
But that paled in comparison to the nine-shot marathon between the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes and the NJ Colonials. Leah Klingel notched the winning shot for Carolina.
Carolina lost in the quarterfinals to Florida, 6-1.
The other Alaska team, the All Stars, also lost a shootout to the St. Clair Shores. This went to seven shooters before Jacalyn Jarvie won it. Neither team made it past pool play.
North Shore defeated Little Caesars in a semifinal in what was initially a see-saw battle, 6-3. North Shore fell behind 1-0, took a 2-1 lead, got tied up, retook the lead 3-2, got tied up again, before reeling off three straight goals. North Shore took 45 shots on goal.
The other semifinal had huge swings of momentum. Boston took 3-0 and 4-2 leads over Florida. Then, two goals by Fitzsimmons within nine seconds late in the third turned out to be an exciting too little, too late situation.
Boston Jr. Eagles coach Brian Sullivan summed up what hopefully most felt about the long weekend of great hockey, “A great tournament. It was a lot of fun. That's the most important thing for them — they had a lot of fun.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.