SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Chicago Young Americans were in familiar territory during their USA Hockey Tier I 14-and-Under girls’ national championship game against the East Coast (Mass.) Wizards on Sunday.
For the fourth time in the tournament, the Young Americans needed overtime. For the third — and most important — time, CYA got the win.
Abby Brush scored the championship-clinching goal at 5:37 of the third overtime in CYA’s 5-4 win over the Wizards. The win gave CYA their second national championship and their first since 2005. The title was the third won by an Illinois-based team as Team Illinois took the 2007 national title.
“It was an unbelievable game. It’s one of those that you hate to see somebody lose,” CYA coach Mike Glass said. “We’re super excited. It’s everything you hoped for when you’ve worked all season long.”
The Wizards opened the scoring with Kelcey Ryan’s tally at 1:37 of the first period. But CYA tied it at 15:33 on Shea Nelson’s goal.
Kirsten Nergaard’s goal at 5:21 gave the Wizards a 2-1 lead, but CYA rallied to take a 3-2 advantage on goals by Andrea Renner (9:42) and Christy von Aulock (14:41).
However, Kate Piacenza’s late second-period goal at 15:44 tied the game at 3-3.
When the teams went into the locker room during the resurfacing break after the second period, Glass had some simple strategy to keep his team focused.
“You just had to keep them calm and positive,” he said. “That was pretty much the message the coaches had all week. The best thing about this group is they know how to compete. They did it all weekend long.”
The teams played close throughout the third period. But at 14:34, CYA’s Andrea Renner found the back of the net, with an assist from Caitlin Schneider.
Yet, the Wiz sent the game into overtime on Ryan’s second goal of the game, thanks to help from Nell Fusco.
That set the stage for Brush’s title-winning goal, with assists from Renner and Gabi Montembeault.
CYA outshot the Wizards, 45-43.
The championship game win was the culmination of many years of hard work for Glass and his coaching staff.
“We’ve been working with this group, some of them for five or six years, a lot of them for four years,” Glass said. “We knew they were a special group. We worked our butts off to get them together. They’re wonderful kids. We had a great year from a personality standpoint. Everyone gets along great. They’re willing to work hard.
“These guys have a compete level and they bring it all the time,” Glass added. “I’m super proud of them.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.