McKINNEY, Texas -- The Glenview Stars set their sights on a national championship before the 2011-12 season even began, and after goals from Allie Karakosta, Delaney Weiss and Valerie Caldwell, coupled with a 12-save shutout by goaltender Tianna LaValle, led to a 3-0 triumph over the West Seneca Wings Sunday morning, they reached their goal, clinching the USA Hockey Girls Tier II 12-and-Under National Championship.
Despite only leading 1-0 heading into the third period, Glenview was clearly outplaying West Seneca, and only a strong performance by Wings goalie Brianna Gawronski, who made 23 saves, prevented the score from looking a little more lopsided.
“It’s unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable. It feels like a dream come true,” said Glenview coach Scott Berger. “The whole entire season, it started in August and we said this was our goal, the national championship. It was heart and desire, knowing that we wanted it more, we just wanted to win everything. Puck control, getting the puck in deep and just playing as hard as we possibly can the whole entire time without stopping, not taking any shifts off.”
“It feels really great, like I dreamed to win nationals and it just feels really great to win,” said LaValle, who surrendered just three goals in the tournament, posting a stunning 0.67 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage. “I didn’t have too many shots, but I just wish I could have helped my team score more, because I was very nervous because there was only one goal for two periods.”
West Seneca was disappointed to lose, but as a team that never even believed they could win the New York state championship, receiving silver medals was a nice consolation.
“We never expected to be here,” admitted West Seneca coach Rocco DellaNeve. “The teams we had to knock off in our state championship to qualify to come here was monumental, having such a young team. We don’t have a lot of 12-year-olds on the team, but they played a lot of hockey this year, over 80 games, so it helped. Winning the state championship was our unforeseen glory, and then to come to this, we knew we were going to have our hands full.
“They’re a good team, Glenville. They’re big, strong, physical, a lot bigger. Our goaltender stood on her head. I told her, you can’t score goals for us, we got to find a way to do that.”
DellaNeve noted that one of the biggest positives his team will take away from the tournament will be the dominant 7-2 victory they posted over the San Jose Jr. Sharks in the semifinals.
“Beating San Jose the way we did [Saturday] and the way we beat them, everything just fell into place for us in that game,” said DellaNeve, whose team went 2-1-0 in the round-robin portion, including a shootout win in the tournament opener. Obviously, we didn’t win this one, so we’re sad, but happy and you move on. Try-outs start tomorrow and you get to do it again.”
This game was probably the toughest test for Glenview, which finished the tournament a perfect 6-0-0, outscoring the opposition 24-4, although goaltender LaValle points to the Illinois state final as one of her most nerve-wracking games.
“In the state championship, we were winning 2-0 in the third period and then they scored to make it 2-1, and I think that fired us up, because we started scoring more after that,” LaValle said. “Our coach had our goal to win nationals and we definitely achieved that goal and we’re very happy.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Tag(s): 12 & Under