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Power plays help Assabet Valley to 12-U Tier I title

By Carl Chimenti, 04/10/11, 2:45PM MDT


The Assabet Valley Girls had something special going on for championship Sunday.

Assabet scored two power-play goals on its way to winning the USA Hockey National Championship on Sunday in Rochester, Mich. Massachusetts-based Assabet topped the New Jersey Colonials 4-1 in the final.

Erica Lunn led the way with a pair of goals, including the eventual game-winner. Samantha Estes and Julia Nearis also scored for Assabet.

“We have been working on our power play the last two months,” Assabet coach Eric Grey said. “We basically have two sets of different options. The girls generated good scoring chances on them and we were able to bury a couple.”

Colonials coach Don Gould agreed that the power-play goals were the difference in the game.

“Oh, for sure it hurt us,” Gould said. “We knew against this team that we did not want to give them any chances with the man advantage but we did and it got us.”

The two teams came out with a lot of energy to start the game and generated scoring chances at both ends.

After going scoreless through the first 10 minutes of the game, the two teams matched goals 33 seconds apart. New Jersey led 1-0 on a goal by Amanda Reisman with 5:55 to play in the first period. Reisman was parked at the side of the net when the puck fell at her stick. From there she went to her backhand for a short-lived 1-0 lead. Emma Polaski and Gianna Napoletano drew the assists.

Assabet Valley immediately tied the game on a goal from Estes following a wild scramble in front of goaltender Melissa Marcialis. McKenna Ingerson had the lone assist as the first period ended in a 1-1 tie.

At 7:02 of the second period, Lunn netted her first of two goals for a 2-1 lead while Assabet was on the power play.

“I had just come off the bench and was hanging high and I received a pass in front,” an excited Lunn said as she described the scoring play during the postgame celebration. “After I got the feed all I had to do was put it in, which I did. I was just so happy that I could contribute for the good of the team.”

The Colonials didn’t back down, however. Assabet Valley goaltender Heather King made back-to-back saves from point-blank range immediately after the Lunn goal.

Marcialis came back with 6:14 to play and made numerous saves while Assabet Valley was on the power play to keep the game close after the opening 30 minutes.

The Colonials missed a chance to tie the game on a failed penalty shot by Kylie Wilkes. She tried to go high from her backhand but Kaitlyn Rooney, who had replaced starting goaltender King, stopped the shot less then two minutes into the third period. Grey wanted to give both of his goaltenders a chance to play in the National finals, and he was able to do just that.

Assabet Valley then iced the game with goals from Lunn and Nearis.

“It was a terrific effort by all our girls today,” Grey said. “We ultimately had the better scoring opportunities and we were able to put some pucks in the net when we needed it.”

Gould was proud of the effort his girls put in despite the results.

“They all did a fantastic job and my kids were unbelievable today. It’s just to bad we were not rewarded. It was the best game they played all year,” he said.

Story courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.