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Girls Tier-I 19U Notebook: Assabet Valley coach pulls triple duty

By Tony Khing - Special to, 04/08/13, 8:15PM MDT


SAN JOSE, Calif. — The legendary Bob Johnson would’ve been proud of Assabet Valley Red coach Dennis Laing on Sunday.

Laing started his day at the USA Hockey National Championships by coaching his Tier I 19-and-Under girls to a semifinal win over Honeybaked (Mich.). A few hours later, he was behind the bench as his Tier I 16U girls lost a 4-3 heartbreaker to Shattuck-St. Mary’s in the championship game as the Sabres scored two third period goals.

He wasn’t finished. Laing ended his day by leading his 19U team to a 1-0 victory over Chicago Mission to claim the national title.

Three different games. Three different sets of emotions. As Johnson, the enthusiastic hockey coach was famous for saying, it was “A great day for hockey.”

When asked how he handled himself through the day, Laing said, “I don’t think about it much. I just go from one to the other. We have a great group of coaches that have been with me for a long time. We’ve got a great group of kids that makes it worth it.”

Laing gives new meaning to the phrase, “For the love of the game.”

About that Assabet dynasty

Some ardent Assabet boosters were quick to point out that the Tier I 19U national championship was the 46th in the organization’s history. Besides the current Tier I divisions of 14U, 16U and 19U, the title count also includes trophies won in Tier I 12U and 15U.

There have been some famous American women’s hockey players who’ve worn the colors. Names such as Cammi Granato, Karyn Bye, Julie Chu and Angela Ruggiero come quickly to mind. All played on a U.S. Olympic team.

Not to be outdone

The Tier I 19U runner-up Chicago Mission will be placing some of their players in some prestigious colleges next year. Among those on the list include Fiona McKenna (Princeton), Hannah Zarzecki (Harvard), Annie Roche (Colgate) and Jillian Kosteck (St. Norbert).

No Crosby show in the finals

Chicago’s 7-4 win in the semifinals over Shattuck-St. Mary’s knocked out the most famous sibling in the tournament. Taylor Crosby, the younger sister of Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, is the netminder for Shattuck. Sidney also played briefly at the prep school from Faribault, Minn.

Taylor Crosby didn’t allow a goal in 51 minutes and three games of pool play. Taylor also pitched a 21-save shutout of Buffalo in the first semifinal game.

Pool play leaders

McKenna and Honeybaked’s Andie Anastos led pool play in scoring with four points each. Anastos paced the goal scoring with four. McKenna and Honeybaked’s Tori Sullivan each had three assists. Assabet’s Brianna Laing stopped 66 of 70 shots for a 1.57 goals-against average in 129 minutes of play.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.