Behind a furious third period comeback, the Chicago Mission defeated Belle Tire, 3-2, to earn a spot in the Chipotle-USA Hockey Girls Tier I 19U National Championship. Down 2-0 going into the third, the Mission rallied off three consecutive goals.
Belle Tire was given a power play midway through the first period, and the Detroit-based team capitalized to take an early lead. A shot was sent in and stopped, but Sophia Chapman was there to clean up the rebound and make it a 1-0 game.
It remained a 1-0 game into the second period when Belle Tire was able to increase their lead. A shot came from the point and Mission goaltender Paige Taborski thought she had it covered. However, the puck was sitting behind her near the goal line and it was eventually tapped in by Olivia Buzzelli.
Heading into the third, Belle Tire kept their 2-0 lead in tact, but Chicago cut into that lead less than a minute in. Ella Huber picked up the puck in the neutral zone and came down the left side. After cutting toward the middle, Huber fired the puck past the glove of Jillian Petruno.
With 9:12 to go, Callista Chong netted the equalizer. Leslie Steiner’s shot attempt was denied, but she stayed with the puck forcing offensive zone pressure. Twelve seconds later, Mission took the lead. Veronica Bac came down the left side and snuck it past Petruno to make it 3-2 Chicago.
And that is how the game would end, as Mission staved off every Belle Tire attack from there on out.
The 19U Mission team joins the 14U Mission team with an opportunity to earn a National Championship on Monday. They will face off against RYA at Selects Academy, which defeated the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers in overtime.
HIGHLIGHT: Chicago Mission take the lead.
After a late, game-tying goal, RYA at Selects Academy scored in overtime to defeat the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, 3-2, on Sunday. The win put Selects Academy into the Chipotle-USA Hockey Girls Tier I 19U National Championship against the Chicago Mission.
RYA at Selects Academy scored less than four minutes into the first period to get on the board first. On a shot sent in on Mattie Robitzer, a scrum ensued where Robitzer ended up on her back. A battle to clear the puck went on, but Caroline Kee came to the far side and pounded the puck into the back of the net.
Philadelphia had a chance in the first period on an odd-man rush. Good back pressure and defensive positioning helped Selects Academy put the fire out and kept it a 1-0 game.
The hometown Flyers threatened again early in the second period. Five minutes in, a shot from the far side rang loudly off the post, and the score remained 1-0.
It would stay that way until early in the third period. Rachel Martin scored the game-tying goal to a loud cheer from the Philadelphia faithful watching. The teams would go back-and-forth with chances until the Flyers took the lead with 8:38 to go. Kylie Aquaro put a shot on net that got past Emily Finach and made it 2-1 Philadelphia.
The score remained 2-1 until late in the third. RYA at Selects Academy was able to pot the equalizer with 10 seconds remaining and send the game into overtime. Laila Edwards drove hard to the net, drawing the attention of the Philadelphia defense. As the puck was forced to the net, it sat dangerously in the crease until Marykate O’Brien jammed it home.
It didn’t take long into overtime for RYA to earn their spot in Monday’s championship game. Less than two minutes in, Edwards scored the overtime winner. Getting the puck on the left side, she stepped toward the center avoiding two defenders, and fired a shot over the glove of the Flyers netminder.
HIGHLIGHT: Laila Edwards scores OT winner.
Chicago Mission 3, Shattuck-St. Mary's 2: The Mission struck first before Shattuck tied it up on the power play in the second period. Shattuck would increase its lead, 2-1, but early in the third, Mission tied things back up. Mission completed its comeback later in the third and hold on to advance to the semifinals.
Belle Tire 3, Honeybaked 0: In a battle of Detroit, Michigan-based teams, Belle Tire scored a goal that trickled past the red line in the second period before adding another tally in the third period. They would add a final goal in the third period to complete the shutout and move on to the semis.
RYA at Selects Academy 4, Dallas Stars Elite 3 (OT): After Dallas tied the game late, RYA at Selects Academy scored an OT-winner to move onto the semis. The two teams traded goals in a back-and-forth affair. With under seven minutes to go in the third, RYA went ahead on a nice goal.
Philadelphia Jr. Flyers 4, Bay State Breakers 3: The Breakers scored a late, second period goal to reduce a 4-1 deficit to 4-2. After Bay State pulled their goalie late, they scored to bring the goal to within one. The Flyers held on to its advantage and will play for a spot in the championship on Monday.