McKINNEY, Texas -- They didn’t plan it that way, but the San Jose Jr. Sharks made a habit of working overtime at the USA Hockey Tier II National Championships, and when they did, they usually took care of business.
Having gone beyond regulation in four of their six contests at the tournament, winning three of them, including a come-from-behind 4-3 overtime win over the Potsdam Ice Storm in the semifinals, the Sharks learned how to handle the fatigue and stress on their bodies.
Following their thrilling 2-1 win in double overtime over the Mount Clemens Wolves in the quarterfinals Saturday, coach Karl Schoech had a detailed plan ready to help his team get prepare for the semifinal contest about seven hours later.
“They’ve got to drink nothing but water and we’ll go back to the hotel,” explained Schoech. “They got up at 5:30, 5:45 in the morning, because we had a 6:45 leave-time for the rink, so we’ll hopefully get some food in them, let them sleep for three or four hours, and then the next part of that is we’ll have to get up and have a real good pre-game workout prior to the game, to get the blood flowing again. I’ve done this a lot, so preparation and how you do this is important.”
Preparation for a possible long overtime during the game is important as well.
“At the end of the first overtime, when I knew we had an ice cut,” Schoech said, “I immediately sent my assistant coach out to go get the oranges and the granola bars and the Gatorade that we had in the vehicles for that situation, so we prepared knowing that the game could go 4-5 periods.”
For Sharks forward Laura Thacker, who scored the double-overtime game-winner against Mount Clemens, it didn’t take too much willpower to come down quickly from the excitement of such a big victory in order to prepare for the next contest.
“We’re not done yet, we still got another game, another two games if we win the next one, so we got to get this one done and look to the next one so we can get that one,” said Thacker, a team co-captain, after the quarterfinal win. “We just got to go do the pre-game preparation and do all the normal stuff we do back home and we’re good enough, I know we’re good enough.”
The strategy appeared to work, as the Sharks won their semifinal 4-3 in overtime to advance to Sunday’s championship game. However, they lost the finals 4-3, this time in regulation.
Polar Bears boast two top scorers
Speaking of overtime game-winners, Rachel Muskin of the Connecticut Polar Bears scored the goal that ended the tournament’s longest game at any level when she connected late in the fourth overtime of the semifinal to defeat the East Coast Wizards.
After adding an assist in the Polar Bears’ championship game victory over the Jr. Sharks, Muskin wound up leading the Tier II 16U tournament in scoring with 10 points (five goals, five assists).
Teammate Andrea Noss, whose goal early in the second period of the title game gave the Polar Bears a 3-1 lead and was her tournament-leading sixth, finished second in points with eight. Also tied with eight points were Margaret Troiano (5-3) of the Potsdam Ice Storm, who made it to the semifinals before falling in overtime to the Jr. Sharks, and Keiko DeClerk of the Jr. Sharks (4-4).
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Tag(s): 16 & Under