SAN JOSE, Calif. — The path to the USA Hockey National Championships Tier I 16-and-Under girls’ title game had been easy for Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the vaunted prep school from Faribault, Minn.
Shattuck outscored the opposition 23-1 in pool play and won its two elimination games leading up to Sunday’s championship match against the defending champion Assabet Valley (Mass.) Red by an 8-0 count.
So being down 3-2 going into the third period of the championship game wasn’t too much of a concern for coach Pete Johnson and his team.
“We’ve played 60 games,” Johnson said. “We’ve practiced 100 times. As a team, we’ve done everything we could do. I had a feeling we were going to have success. The girls were really positive. I felt good coming into the third period.”
Johnson’s good feelings would soon become reality. The Sabres got two goals from Brette Pettet nearly three minutes apart in the final frame to give Shattuck its second Tier I girls’ 16U national title with a 4-3 win.
Assabet Valley started the scoring with Bridget McCarthy’s goal at 6:39 of the first period, assisted by Lauren Kelly.
Shattuck’s Brooke Ahbe tied it less than three minutes later at 9:03, but Assabet went up 2-1 on Miriam Eickhoff’s tally at 13:52.
Shattuck tied it early in the second period on Brooke Boquist’s goal at 1:12, assisted by Katherine Hughes and Emma Turbyville.
Then at 10:09, with Assabet on the power play, Mallory Souliotis ripped a wrister from the right point that went top shelf on Shattuck goaltender Megan DuBois to give Assabet a temporary 3-2 lead.
But despite Souliotis’ bottle-popper, there was still an icy calm on the Shattuck bench going into the third period.
“[I said] if we outworked them and stay the course, we’ll be OK,” Johnson said. “We played really well defensively all weekend. Our goalie is a good goalie, so she was going to make a big save.
“It was a game of momentum,” Johnson added. “We needed to get the momentum back. I just kept saying to not give them a two-goal lead.”
Shattuck out shot Assabet, 31-27. All three of Assabet’s goals came on the power play.
Pettett, who scored the tying and title-clinching goals, was the second leading scorer on Shattuck in pool play with six points (five assists).
Shattuck won its first title at this age level in 2010. Assabet Valley has won nine championships since 2000, more than any other team in the girls’ Tier I 16U division. Both teams won all three games in this year’s pool play, but Shattuck’s plus-22 goal differential placed them first in the National Bracket.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.