LITTLETON, Colo. — Emma Compton was ready to be done with it.
Compton, 16, the Rocky Mountain Lady RoughRiders captain, went bar-down in overtime to give the hometown team a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Little Flyers in the 1A title game of the USA Hockey-Chipotle Girls Tier II 16U National Championships on Monday.
“I was kind of ready for the game to end,” Compton said.
“One of our defensemen happened to take it up and somebody has to go with her. It just happened to be me. Happened to have the clutch shot.”
Head coach Chris Lockrem said the Lady RoughRiders had been to the national championship the last four years. This is their first win.
“This is definitely going to be like, ‘We’ve got to watch out for the Lady RoughRiders now,’” Compton said.
Violet Arnold connected with Kaia Carlson to give the Lady RoughRiders a 1-0 lead. Philadelphia’s Sophie Grant was sprung by Annie Dignazio (2 assists) and evened things up on a shorthanded breakaway with 2:26 left in the first period.
Compton took the blame for that goal and apologized to her teammates. They moved on.
“It was a crazy, fun game," Compton said. “Stressful, but fun. That’s the way a national championship game should be played, in my opinion, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
The teams traded lengthy 5-on-3 power plays midway through the second period. The RoughRiders couldn’t convert, but Kaila Booth gave the Philadelphia Little Flyers their first lead of the game during the second half of that special teams sequence.
A little over three minutes later, Little Flyers goalie Sydney Babin stopped a bad-angle shot from in close, but the Lady RoughRiders took it around the net. Alexis Jackson’s high shot from the slot tied the game.
Rocky Mountain had to kill a penalty in overtime, and the Philadelphia pressure continued long after the box emptied.
“It was like, oh ... we could actually lose this,” Compton said.
Lady RoughRiders goaltender Zoe Watson (16 saves) had to make a save on a bouncing puck during the power play. At the other end, Babin (11 saves in 35:13) made a spinning stop.
Watson was in net the entire game. Philadelphia’s Lea Grassia shared the goal with Babin and made 16 saves in 26 minutes of action.
Keilana Schmidt and Compton went ahead and finished up.
“She's been doing that all year in big games,” Lockrem said of his captain. “It’s what we’ve come to expect from her.”
The packed half of the stands in RoughRiders green and black went wild. The Girls’ Tier II 14U, 16U and 19U teams were initially supposed to play in Irvine, Calif., but the move to the Denver metro area offered the Lady RoughRiders an opportunity to focus on the hockey instead of resting in a hotel and locating meals.
“We absolutely, the whole time, decided we have to take advantage of being the home team,” Lockrem said.
The local team was familiar with several others in the bracket. Lockrem estimates the Lady RoughRiders met the Idaho Lady Vipers ten times this year and traded close wins. They met again in the semifinals, with the eventual champions winning 2-0.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, defeated Team South Dakota in overtime on Sunday. South Dakota was the only team to defeat the Lady RoughRiders, 2-1 in a shootout Saturday.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.