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HoneyBaked 19U girls overcome consistency issues to win state title

By Carl Chimenti - Special to, 03/10/14, 4:30PM MDT


TAYLOR, Mich. -- Watching the HoneyBaked 19-and-Under girls beat Little Caesars 2-1 in the Michigan state finals on Sunday at the Taylor Sportsplex, it would be hard to fathom that the team had battled through bouts of inconsistency this season.

“We certainly have had our ups and downs this season,” coach Ryan Pardoski said in the midst of the celebration on the ice following the title win. “Sometimes we play really well and other times we struggle a bit. It’s a team that is young and, for most of the players, this is their first season playing together.”

That lack of experience at times led to inconsistency issues.

As the season has progressed, HoneyBaked has improved from game to game and put it all together in the state tournament when it mattered most.

“Everybody contributed tonight and it was a great team effort. Playing as a team is something that we have stressed all year,” said Pardoski, who is in his fourth year as coach of the 19U team. “Looking back I think we had a very successful season and everything we went through as a team was leading up to this final. Winning the state title was our main goal all year and you prepare for this moment through out the season. I am very happy for the girls, they worked hard all year and all the credit goes to them.”

The first period was a total domination for HoneyBaked, and they were rewarded quickly.

Taylor Ann Callahan tapped in a rebound at the 50-second mark to give HoneyBaked the early lead. HoneyBaked increased their lead at the 15:31 mark. Nicole Russel from a wild scramble in front of the net scored on an assist from Kortney Diaz. The first period ended with HoneyBaked leading 2-0.

“It was really crucial to score that first goal,” said forward Lea Boreland, who led a ferocious forecheck that led to a number of turnovers and scoring chances for HoneyBaked. “It happened on the second shift of the game and got us off to a good start, and I thought from there we controlled most of the game.”

HoneyBaked defended their two-goal lead in the second period, and even though Little Caesars outshot them 10-8, most of their shots came from the perimeter. The one scoring opportunity came on a HoneyBaked breakaway that was stymied by a great save from goaltender Claire Lachner. Lachner played a pivotal part in keeping Little Caesars in the game with timely saves.

“The whole team played well through the first two periods, especially on defense,” said Boreland, who has a championship pedigree with HoneyBaked, having won a national title two years ago in Macomb, Mich. “We have had outstanding goaltending all year by both Maddison Murray and Jessica Convery. Jess was amazing this afternoon, making a lot of good saves and keeping the 2-0 lead intact through two periods.”

HoneyBaked ran into penalty trouble late in the third period. With a two-man advantage, Little Caesars pulled their goaltender for a 6-3 power play and it paid off.

Ana Orzechowski scored from the slot with 1:27 to go, but that was as close as they would come with the final buzzer setting off a mad celebration and a trip for HoneyBaked to the USA Hockey National Championships next month in Marlborough, Mass.

“In the final minutes I was concerned about the girls’ frame of mind, having to kill all those penalties,” said a happy Pardoski. “I thought they were getting a little to zealous, but they held on.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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2007 National Championship - 19U

By Richard Paolinelli 04/04/2007, 5:00pm MDT

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- As has become a familiar theme at USA Hockey's Girls 19 & Under National Championship, Shattuck-St. Mary’s again came out of its district tournament.

The Sabres also skated away with their third consecutive Nationals title on Sunday at Logitech Ice Center.

“I think that when you start any season, you set a goal,” Shattuck coach Gordon Stafford said moments after watching his team top Assabet Valley, 2-0, in Sunday’s finale. “It gives you a sense of direction for the year.”

That direction pointed Shattuck-St. Mary’s straight toward another gold medal performance, keeping the game well under control for the entire 45 minutes.

Jocelyn Lamoureux put Shattuck on the board in the opening period, taking a pass from twin sister Monique Lamoureux with 4:54 left in the period and slipping it past Assabet Valley goalie Alissa Fromkin. Monique Lamoureux, who finished second only to her sister with 13 points (nine goals, four assists, while Jocelyn had 11 goals and four assists), had been denied by Fromkin on two point-blank scoring chances earlier in the first period.

Shattuck nearly scored again in the final seconds of the period as Fromkin made two stellar saves to keep her Massachusetts District champion team in the hunt for the title.

“I thought we were controlling the game,” Stafford said. “We seemed to be getting stronger as the game went on.”

With most of the second period played in the Assabet Valley end, Shattuck again peppered the net to close out the second period. But Fromkin, again, was solid, keeping her team’s hopes alive with three saves in the final 10 seconds.

Shattuck finally punched in the insurance goal just 3:24 into the third period as Monique Lamoureux scored to give Shattuck the final 2-0 score.

“It’s wonderful to see them reach its goal like this,” Stafford said.

With 15 players set to return next year, Shattuck-St. Mary’s would appear to be favored to net its fourth straight title next year -- a goal Stafford will set for his team come September.

“We’ll just start the season [this fall] and start working together,” Stafford said, “and we’ll see how it goes.”

The defending champion’s path to Sunday’s grand conclusion began with a 3-0 run through the round robin that included a 4-2 win against Assabet Valley on Friday.

In Saturday’s quarterfinals, Shattuck topped the Connecticut Polar Bears, 5-2, but nearly saw its threepeat hopes derailed in Saturday night’s semifinal against Michigan District champion Belle Tire.

Leading 2-0 going into the third period of Saturday’s semifinal, Shattuck watched as Belle Tire scored three goals in six minutes. Only Jocelyn Lamoureux’s power play goal with less than six minutes left in regulation and another goal just seven seconds into overtime saved Shattuck from an early departure.

Assabet Valley was 1-1-1-0 in round robin play. It also had to survive an overtime scare on Saturday, clipping Team Illinois, 3-2, in extra time of Saturday’s quarterfinals, before getting a late game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory against Southeastern District champion Washington in the semifinals.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Despite not winning their state title, the Vikings finished off an undefeated run to the title