Goaltender Alexis Shaw made 20 saves and forward Andie Anastos scored all three goals to push HoneyBaked to a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Mission in the USA Hockey National Championship game on Sunday in Rochester, Mich.
“It was just unbelievable, the whole week was,” HoneyBaked coach Rob Robinson said. “We played an awesome game against a very, very good hockey team, probably the best team we have seen all year.”
Even though Chicago did not score, the game was much closer than the score indicated.
“I think we played an outstanding game and at times we were all over them,” said Mission coach Erin Rourke said. “We just did not put the puck in the net. It just would not bounce our way.”
Rouke said the Mission worked hard to create the opportunities to score.
“Look at the ice in the third period,” Rouke said. “We were clearly in their end more so than they were in ours. We had the chances but we couldn’t finish and that was the story today.”
The game opened with both teams skating at a frantic pace. Shaw and the Mission’s Kathleen Fitzgerald made tough saves throughout the period.
Finally, with 1:28 to go in the period, Anastos scored on a backhand shot.
“It’s just the greatest thing and I am so excited and happy for my teammates, who worked so hard to make this dream come true, winning a national championship,” said an emotional Anastos as the team took a victory lap around the ice.
Anastos then described what proved to be the winning goal.
“It was a faceoff and my dad, who is one of our coaches, told me to go to the net,” Anastos said. “So I went to the net. I lost the puck but Tori Sullivan tipped it back and I just got it and went hard at the net and put it in.”
The second and third periods were a far cry from the fast pace of the opening period.
“Obviously a few different power plays and penalty-kill situations, and that takes you out of your normal flow a little bit,” Robinson said. “Then it’s just a matter of getting everyone back in sync.”
After a scoreless second period, HoneyBaked needed only nine seconds in the third period to take a 2-0 lead.
“I just picked up the puck following the opening faceoff,” Anastos said. “From there I just crashed the net and the puck made it’s way through the five hole.”
After that, HoneyBaked’s goal was to protect the lead.
“It was basically 5-on-5 and it was a well managed game by the on-ice officials,” Rourke said. “They’ve got a great team and it was a fantastic final and you couldn’t have asked for a better game between two top teams in a national title game.”
Anastos wrapped up the scoring with an empty net goal in the final two minutes.
“Andie was unbelievable through out the weeklong tournament, but I could say that about all our girls and how well we played as a team,” said Robinson, who also praised the goaltending of Shaw.
“National championship game — to get a shutout, that’s huge. She has been our only goaltender since mid-November on, so she has played every game and has been a difference-maker for us this year.”
Story courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.
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