It was a dominating performance from start to finish for Shattuck-St. Mary’s. The end result was a 4-2 win over Little Caesars that gave Shattuck the USA Hockey 19-Under Tier I National Championship on Sunday in Rochester, Mich.
Shattuck played a strong defensive game and chalked up several blocked shots to lend a hand to goaltender Erin Krichiver.
“We spend a lot of time thinking about and working on our defensive zone coverage,” Shattuck coach Gordie Stafford said after the game. “You can always play good defense even when you’re not scoring, and chances are good things will happen.”
Little Caesars coach Matt Berger tipped his hat to Shattuck.
“They did a good job of taking away what they gave us,” Berger said. “Also, I don’t think we played our best game.”
There were a couple of would-be turning points in the second period. Trailing 2-0, Little Caesars managed to score at the 4:25 mark to slice the lead in half on a goal by Nicole Renault, who deposited an assist from Alyssa West. But Shattuck scored what turned out to be the game-winner only 35 seconds later. Little Caesars later came up short on a breakaway.
“It’s a game of emotion and you have to try to get it when you don’t have it,” Berger said. “They have a pretty strong defensive core.”
Stafford felt Little Caesars make a charge in the second period.
“I thought they were really coming on, but we were to blame as well,” Stafford said. “We had a couple of bad line changes and a couple of dropped passes that were uncharacteristic of us.”
Krichiver got just enough of the shot on the breakaway to send it awry.
“Erin got a piece of that shot,” Stafford said. “She has been fantastic for us all year and she came up big for us at the right time.”
Shattuck scored twice within 25 seconds in the first period as Kayla Sullivan deposited the puck into the net from in front at 9:46 on an unassisted goal. Kathleen Turnbull made it 2-0 as she found herself parked at the side of netminder Taylor Fairchild to score the goal. Kimberly Drake and Brook Garzone had the assists.
Shattuck increased its lead to 4-1 in the third period on a pretty passing play. Courtney Burke dished out a perfect pass to Ellen Williams for a tap-in and a 4-1 lead. Little Caesars matched that in the waning seconds of the game on a goal by Caitlyn Post, with an assist from Casey Dockus during a 5-on-3 advantage.
Stafford says his team, which has nine seniors off to play Division I college hockey next season, peaked at the right time.
“We really came together at the end of the year,” Stafford said. “The core group of this team won the U-16 National title last year and the seniors bought into the system and they know how to win.”
Krichiver gave credit to her teammates following the post game hoopla.
“They have been amazing at blocking shots all year,” Krichiver said. “I think as a whole we have been solid all the way around. We have been scoring but at the same time we have been shutting down teams as well.”
Story courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Tag(s): 19 & Under