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Tiger Lilies vets split among two teams, win two Atlantic titles

By Tom Robinson - Special to USAHockey.com, 03/10/14, 3:45PM MDT

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ASTON, Pa. – The Princeton Tiger Lilies won a single Atlantic District girls’ hockey championship in 2013, taking the Tier II 16-and-Under title.

Players from that team repeated this year — with a twist.

The Tiger Lilies captured both the Tier II 16U and 19U titles with graduates from last year’s 16U program moving up to lead a new 19U championship team and holdovers leading a successful title defense at 16U.

Carlie Smythe, who scored the overtime game-winner in the tournament finale last year to land the berth at USA Hockey National Championships, is headed back to nationals this year, but as a 19U player. Smythe scored two goals, including the game-winner, when Princeton defeated the Quakers 4-2 Sunday to take the tournament title.

Alexa Jarvis had points in all three games to help the 16U team repeat. She had two goals and two assists to share team tournament scoring honors with Tabitha Franceschini, another returnee, and Mary McCafferty.

Goalies lead 19U squad

Balanced scoring and the combination of what coach James Pezzatto calls the “best two goalies in the Atlantic District” carried Princeton’s 19U team through three games of round-robin play.

The Tiger Lilies got three points each from three players and two points each from six players. Their 11 goals came from seven different players with none scoring more than two.

“We’ve been that way all season,” coach Pezzato said.

Margaret Herring, Lia Pezzato and the Smythe twins, Carlie and Kendall, are the players who moved up and produced a championship on a higher level. Kendall Smythe made 19 saves in the 2-1 win over the Rockets.

Giana Rifici had 12 saves in the opening 5-2 win over the New Jersey Colonials and then 20 more in the deciding game against the Quakers, who are based in West Chester, Pa.

The Tiger Lilies and Quakers were 1-1-1 against each other in the regular season before the Tiger Lilies beat them on the way to the title in the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Hockey League playoffs.

Nicole Washco’s third goal of the tournament, a power-play goal off a Jordan Haggerty assist, gave the Quakers an early lead in the final.

Robin Linzmayer tied the game on the power-play in the last minute of the first period and Carlie Smythe gave the Tiger Lilies the lead early in the second.

Abby Borzell tied it up with 7:35 left in the second, but Carlie Smythe scored the game-winner on a rebound 3:34 later. Brigid Lorincz added a third-period goal to secure the 4-2 win.

“They had gone through their first two games of the tournament with no goals against, so when they got that first one, I was nervous,” said Rifici, a 16-year-old from Blackwood, N.J., who doubles as the No. 1 goalie for Black Horse Ice Hockey, where she has a winning record on the boys’ high school team that is combined from multiple schools within the district.

Rifici and a tighter defensive effort in the third period combined to shut out the Quakers over the final 24:35.

Katie Rogers made 46 saves in a losing effort as the Tiger Lilies built up a 50-22 shot advantage.

Tiger Lilies overcome Quakers in 16U, too

The same two programs decided the 16U title, but in a best-of-three series. The Quakers won the opener 3-1 early Saturday. The Tiger Lilies came back later in the day for a 3-0 win to force Sunday’s deciding game where they prevailed, 4-1.

Jarvis, Franceschini, Sam Dwyer, Madison Dwyer, Kate Becker, Olivia Crespo, Marissa Ray and Katie Alden all won their second straight title at 16U.

Priscilla Orr and Corrine Merlino gave the Quakers a 2-0 lead in the first game and Brenna Smith added a goal after Jarvis scored for the Tiger Lilies. Taylor Schwandt made 24 saves in the win.

“The Quakers had a very good game plan,” Princeton coach Mark Dwyer said. “They had two in our zone pressuring our defense. They hadn’t beaten us the whole year, but they played with a lot of emotion and came at us the whole game.”

The Tiger Lilies made adjustments and Davis said the team did a better job of taking advantage of the space on the Olympic-sized rink as the series progressed.

Alden had 24 saves and Princeton did all the scoring in less than six minutes in the middle of the second period in game two. McCafferty had two goals, opening the scoring on the power play and adding the third goal 29 seconds after Becker scored.

Franceschini had two goals and an assist and Sara Brezniak made 28 saves in the deciding game. The Tiger Lilies won the game with three power-play goals, including one of the two goals they scored directly off faceoffs.

“We’ve been pretty good on the power play all season,” Dwyer said.

Jarvis had a goal and an assist and McCafferty had two assists.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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