INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. — Florida Alliance scored three unanswered goals following the second intermission to pull away for a 6-3 win over the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes. The victory secured Florida Alliance’s spot in the 2020 Chipotle-USA Hockey Girls Tier II 16U National Championships in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Florida Alliance had won games by a larger margin previously, but Tristina Doyle said things were more difficult in the Girls’ Tier II 16U championship game of the 2020 USA Hockey Southeastern District Tournament.
“We just went out there [after the intermission] and just went harder than we did before, and we realized that we can’t let up against them,” said Doyle, 16, who plays defense for Florida Alliance.
Florida Alliance jumped out to an early 3-1 lead on the Hurricanes, but the two teams were tied at 3-3 heading into the second intermission.
During the break, Florida Alliance coach Shawn Ray adjusted his game plan and had his players start shooting low. It worked, and Florida Alliance didn’t surrender another goal down the stretch to secure the win.
“Our team has been in a lot of high-end games this year, and we don’t give up. We don’t quit,” Ray said. “We know that we’re going to make the plays that we need to make. We’re going to get our scoring chances, and we knew we were going to get them.”
Florida Alliance never lets up in Tier II 14U
Lorenda Prier, Florida Alliance’s girls Tier II 14U coach, has stressed to her players to stay on the attack and maintain a high hockey IQ on the ice. Both again worked to their advantage.
Florida Alliance jumped out to an early lead and never relinquished it, coasting to a 4-0 win over the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes in the girls’ Tier II 14U championship game.
“The key was getting an early lead, and it stood a right balance between being able to score goals and protect the house,” Prier said. “So it was nice to see all aspects of the game come together with good goaltending.”
Prier said Florida Alliance never gave the Hurricanes a chance to build momentum.
“It was a tribute to the girls never taking their foot off the gas pedal,” Prier said. “It was pretty awesome that they took a commanding lead and held on and never gave any opportunities.”
Girls’ hockey alive and well in the south
Emma Bresett plays a wing position on the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes girls Tier II 16U team. She feels she and her teammates are also representing girls hockey in North Carolina.
The Hurricanes were the only hockey program from North Carolina that qualified for the district tournament in Indian Trail, which is located near Charlotte. They didn’t have to travel as far as the other teams competing in the Southeastern District Tournament to play last week.
The Hurricanes are based in Raleigh, which is around a three hour drive from Indian Trail.
“Girls hockey, I feel like it’s a newer concept. Girls from all over the state are starting to bloom, starting to come out and join our programs, and I love it,” Bresett said. “I hope it turns out to be really big down in the South.”
Charlize Stoddart plays defense for the Hurricanes’ girls Tier II 16U team. She said hockey is gaining popularity in North Carolina, but still remains small compared to other sports in the state.
“There are not a lot of girls out there that are playing hockey right now, and I really think it’s important for girls to do this,” Stoddart said.