WEST CHESTER, Pa. – Sloane Matthews scored the game-winning goal in the third period to help Minnesota Elite Vegas to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Mission on Sunday night. The win put Minnesota into Monday’s Chipotle-USA Hockey Girls Tier I 16U National Championship.
“We’re unbelievably excited, it’s a great opportunity. We appreciate USA Hockey for putting this on, and hopefully the girls get some sleep tonight,” said head coach Meaghan Pezon.
The scoring started less than three minutes into the contest. After Minnesota earned a power play, they won the ensuing offensive zone faceoff. Danielle Brunette picked up the puck coming off the wall and fired it far side to give them a 1-0 lead.
Chicago would tie it up late in the first period. On the power play, Mission set up a play that involved two players interchanging behind the net. The wrap around attempt failed, but the puck sat near the goal line where Courtney Schumacher was able to put it home.
Both teams had chances in the second, but neither could capitalize. It remained a tie game into the third period, as both goalies settled in.
Minnesota was able to break through the scoreless tie four and a half minutes into the third period. Maeve Kelly walked the blue line to the middle of the ice and put a shot toward the net. Matthews, standing in the slot, was able to deflect it in.
“We’ve talked all tournament long about our [defense] walking the blue line and getting pucks to the net, got it through and got a nice tip in front of the net,” said Pezon.
A late penalty by Chicago put the faceoff in their own zone, and despite Mission pulling the goalie for an extra attacker, Minnesota stood strong defensively to hold on and earn a spot to play for the National Championship against Little Caesars, who defeated Shattuck St. Mary’s in semifinal actions.
WEST CHESTER, Pa. – Little Caesars scored early and kept their foot on the gas as they defeated Shattuck-St. Mary’s, 4-1, on Sunday night, earning a spot in Monday’s Chipotle-USA Hockey Girls Tier I 16U National Championship.
“I think we played a really good team game,” said head coach Kenny Ryan. “We’ve come together at the right time and put ourselves in a position to win a championship. These girls have worked hard all year and now we’re in a position to do it.”
Ava Stevenson put Little Caesars on the board three minutes into the game. Following a great pass, Stevenson received the puck at the top of the right circle. She took one step toward the middle and released a shot glove side that found the back of the net, making it 1-0.
Six minutes later, Little Caesars struck again. Ella Blackmore brought the puck up the right wall all the way to the blue line. She then passed to Melanie Targosz who found Cassandra Hall streaking through the middle. Hall released a blocker side shot that pushed the lead to 2-0.
The score remained 2-0 until late in the second period. Elyssa Biederman passed cross-ice in the neutral zone to Kaia Malachino. Malachino brought it into the zone on the right side and passed back to Biederman who wound up for a one-timer, connected, and scored.
Malachino would add a goal in the third period. Receiving the puck at the blue line, Malachino stepped into a slap shot and scored top shelf, pushing the Little Caesars lead to 4-0.
Shattuck would get a goal late in the third, as Lauren Glaser received a pass in the neutral zone and sprung for a breakaway, where she moved the puck to her backhand and scored on the blocker side.
“They’re a good team,” said Ryan. “Obviously they have a lot of talent. We’ve been together all year through the ups and downs, and they’re a team we’ve wanted to play against. We’re going to be able to compete, and we’ll see how things go.”
Little Caesars will face Minnesota Elite Vegas for the National Championship on Monday.
Minnesota Elite Vegas 6, Florida Alliance 3: Sloane Matthews got the scoring started less than a minute into the game. Alejandra Franco added a goal a few minutes later. Minnesota increased their lead to 3-0 in the second before Florida scored their first goal. Matthews earned her second goal of the game on a nice pass midway through the second period. Late in the second, Minnesota would add a fifth goal. The two teams would trade goals in the third, with Minnesota advancing to the semifinals.
Detroit Little Caesars 1, RYA at Selects Academy 0: Little Caesars scored a power play goal in the first period on a great passing play. The score remained in a goaltending duel at 1-0, until midway through the third, when RYA at Selects Academy nearly scored. The potential game-tying goal was waved off. Little Caesars was able to stave off late opportunity by RYA to hold on and advance to the semis.
Chicago Mission 1, East Coast Wizards 0: Mission scored late in the first period to get out to a 1-0 lead. The score remained the same through the rest of the game, as both goaltenders were at their peak performance, as Mission was able to deny a fury of late chances by the Wizards to clinch a spot to play later on Sunday.
Shattuck St. Mary's 3, Philadelphia Jr. Flyers 2 (OT): Shattuck earned an early first period goal to jump out to a 1-0 lead over the hometown Flyers. Philly would score a late second period goal to tie the game going into the third. Shattuck scored midway through the third to take a 2-1 lead. A late third period goal by the Jr. Flyers tied the game at two. It took nearly all of overtime, but Shattuck potted the game winner to advance to the semifinals.