Pittsburgh, Pa — Little Caesars picked up its first-ever Chipotle-USA Hockey Tier I Girls 19U National Championship, defeating the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, 4-1 in an offensive display on Monday.
The two teams kept it close the first period, keeping it scoreless and killing off a penalty each.
“This team has worked so hard this year,” Little Caesars head coach Rocky Thompson said. “This is so special for them. I’m so proud of how they handled situations, the ups and downs of the tournament. I loved how they grew over the course of the tournament. I’m very proud of them.”
Little Caesars jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the second, scoring two goals in 1:28 to get the offense going. Bailey Brunnhoelzl laced a pass across the ice to Elyssa Biederman on a 2-on-1 for the first score, as Kaia Malachino followed with a goal of her own dangling through the middle and finding the back of the net.
“We had great had great second periods this whole tournament,” Thompson said. “We have a lot of talent on our team, top to bottom. All our lines are able to score and can contribute on power plays and penalty kills.”
Little Caesars opened up a 3-0 lead shortly before intermission. Off an offensive-zone faceoff win, Jenna Nikles found net on a screened shot with 5:18 left on the clock.
The Jr. Flyers broke the shutout at 3:43 in the second when Makayla Javier laced a Maggie Jacoby pass down the side and in the back of the net to cut the lead to 3-1.
Less than a minute into the third, Little Caesars opened a 4-1 lead on a 3-on-2 opportunity. Ella Blackmore took a Kirsten Simms pass and put it behind Flyers goalie Mattie Robitzer. Little Caesars never looked back and ended the game in dominant fashion
The Jr. Flyers outshot Little Caesars 32-25 in the losing effort, with Bailey Callaway stopping 31 shots for Little Caesars.