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Keweenaw (Mich.) attempt for redemption falls a bit short

By John Trachina, 04/02/12, 9:45AM MDT


McKINNEY, Texas -- After losing in overtime of the USA Hockey Tier II 16-and-Under national title game last season, the Keweenaw Storm 19U girls’ squad, featuring virtually all of the same players, arrived in the Dallas suburbs with a single focus — to make the most of their opportunity to rectify the situation a year later.

“That was a tough memory, but it was still nice to get that far, all the way to the finals, being a small community like we are,” noted Keweenaw coach Glenn Patrick, who guided the U16 squad to the 2-1 overtime loss to the Connecticut Polar Bears in last year’s final. “Hopefully we learned a little bit from that, and maybe that makes the girls a little bit hungrier for this year.”

“It was bad, because we had just scored to tie it up with a minute left, and then to lose it like that was not fun,” added 19U Keweenaw goaltender Stephanie King, who also played on that 16U team. “The girls who were here last year, they’re really motivated to get back in it this year.”

It was a long and impressive journey just to make it back to the national tournament for the Storm, who hail from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“We were fortunate enough to win our state tournament,” Patrick acknowledged, “but I think just having been here before, it’s a little bit of experience, but also that desire that you want to succeed and try and do every little thing and play a little more desperate.”

Unfortunately for the Storm, Keweenaw wound up losing in the quarterfinals to Team Alaska 1-0. Despite out-shooting Alaska 29-11, Keweenaw was unable to beat goaltender Madilynn Davis.

Scouting the enemy while assessing progress
Among the throngs of local fans jammed into the rink at the McKinney Dr. Pepper StarCenter for the 19U championship game Sunday between the host Alliance Bulldogs and the Colorado Tigers Elite Prep was Richard Galipault, assistant coach for the Southern Assault squad.

Although his team was eliminated after the round-robin portion of the tournament, losing all three of its games by a combined score of 9-2, Galipault remained in the Dallas suburbs two extra days to view the title game with a critical eye. Seeing the top two teams battle it out allowed him to gauge just how his own club compares.  

“It’s good to see the level of play that’s here,” noted Galipault, whose club took the Steel City Selects to overtime before falling 3-2. “We played one of the teams in the finals [Colorado]; we had a good game with them, lost 5-0 but were pretty much in the game most of the way through, so it’s good just to measure our level of competition with who made the finals.

“I think we are [close). We need to be a little more consistent, we just have to play a little bit higher level throughout the season to get us ready for it.” 

Galipault was also glad to see how closely-matched most of the teams in the tournament were, despite the fact that the Alliance won the championship by winning all six of their games by a combined margin of 36-9.

“If you look at the scores throughout, it looks like the teams have been pretty balanced,” said Galipault. “The games have been very competitive, a lot of overtime games and shootout games. So that’s good to see, just from a competition standpoint — to come and feel like you got a chance to compete was good, because we were worried about that.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.