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Pacific District Girl's Notebook: Lady Ducks fly together in huge title-game comeback

By Tom Robinson - Special to USAHockey.com, 03/11/14, 12:45PM MDT

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The Anaheim Lady Ducks had already lost once to the host Alaska All-Stars when they fell behind by three goals after one period of Sunday’s Pacific District Tier I 16-and-Under girls’ championship game in Anchorage.

That did not stop the Lady Ducks from putting together an impressive comeback that landed the team a trip to Marlborough, Mass., for the USA Hockey Tier I Girls’ National Championships.

Nicole Dunbar’s four goals led the way as the Lady Ducks rallied for a 5-3 championship game victory over the All-Stars.

Kiana Verplancke’s 41 saves helped Alaska beat Anaheim 3-1 during Friday’s round-robin meeting in the four-team tournament.

Anaheim followed up the 42-29 shot advantage in that loss with a 35-18 advantage in the championship game. The Lady Ducks kept firing until they eventually broke through.

Dunbar got Anaheim on the scoreboard 6:43 into the second period with a power-play goal. She tied the game 13 seconds into the third period and added two more goals. Lillian Marchant had a goal and two assists in the win.

Anaheim is sending three teams to nationals. The Lady Ducks Tier I 14U and 19U teams and the Kenai Peninsula (Alaska) Tier II 16U team were guaranteed national berths prior to the district tournament because of a lack of challengers from outside their home states.

Team Alaska wins 19U in-state showdown

Lindsey Wright’s goal 1:13 into the second period was the last of the scoring and lifted Team Alaska to a 2-1 title over the Alaska All-Stars in Sunday’s district championship game.

Team Alaska had a 42-11 advantage in shots, but Hanuko McCulloch made 40 saves to keep the All-Stars in the game. Team Alaska assistant coach Shawn Lundgren said the game was not as lopsided as the shots on goal would reflect.

“It sure didn’t seem that way,” Lundgren said. “I figure we probably out-chanced them about 2-to-1.”

Annie Rush gave the All-Stars the lead 4:35 into the game. Amy Brassard tied the game with three minutes left in the first period.

Jr. Sharks fall short of foiling Team Alaska at 14U

Team Alaska gave up just four goals in four games, all to the San Jose Jr. Sharks.

Alaska needed a shootout to beat San Jose 3-2 in the round-robin meeting between the two teams, and then it needed a rally for a 3-2 win in Sunday’s championship game.

Jaden Trboyevich scored the deciding goal in the shootout and the game-winner at 4:06 of the third period of the championship game. Trboyevich took a back-door pass from Mikayla Lantto on the goal that sent the team to nationals.

Earlier, Lantto, a seventh-grader who is one of the team’s youngest players, scored the first two Alaska goals, including one on the power play.

“She definitely has a knack for putting the puck in the net,” Lundgren, the coach of the 14U team, said of Lantto, the team’s leading scorer. “She’s tall. She has good speed.

“She has a lot of hockey ahead of her.”

Alaska needed Lantto’s touch and Gabrielle Bagneschi’s 20 saves after San Jose moved in front twice.

“They’re a very good team,” Lundgren said. “It was definitely a battle.

“Our goaltender Gaby played very well.”

By the Numbers

Team Alaska had the top three scorers in the 19U tournament. Mackenzie Millen had four goals and seven assists, Rush had five goals and five assists and Alahna Stivers had six goals and three assists. Meanwhile, Megan Hunt stopped 58 of 60 shots for Team Alaska.

The seven games in the 16U tournament averaged just a combined 3.57 goals per game. The champion Lady Ducks had the only four players with more than two points: Dunbar (6-1--7), Marchant (3-3--6), Tia Stoddard (1-3--4) and Keely Moy (2-1--3).

Kai Lilly Karpman had two shutouts while stopping 69 of 72 shots for Anaheim.

Four 14U players finished with three goals and two assists. Trboyevich and Lantto had that production to lead Team Alaska to the title while Katherine Sonntag and Angelina Cruzal did the same for San Jose. Kennedy Miedema also had five points for the Jr. Sharks, all on assists.

Bagneschi stopped 33 of 37 shots with two shutouts for Team Alaska.

Mary Jane Peters did not allow a goal while making 17 saves in her two games in net for San Jose.

Busy Nationals

The Anaheim Lady Ducks coaching staff will be busy in Marlborough. All of the coaches for the three Lady Ducks teams moving on to the Tier I National Championships will also be trying to defend Anaheim’s title in the Women’s B National Championships that are going on at the same time and site.

The 16U team that won the Pacific District Tournament is coached by Kathy McGarrigle. The former college tennis player will be making her 10th appearance at USA Hockey Women’s Nationals as a player. Caroline Marchant assists McGarrigle on the 16U team.

Caitlin Hogan, a 2010 Patty Kazmaier Award nominee while at St. Cloud State, is the coach of the 19U team. Danielle Ahumada is the U14 coach with assistance from Danielle Ramirez.

McGarrigle built the Lady Ducks program, which won its first medal on the Tier I 12U level with a bronze in 2007. Anaheim went back a year later and took the gold medal at the same level.

The Lady Ducks program has a total of 12 medals at USA Hockey tournaments, 10 by the girls and two by the women

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

District Champions

Girls Tier I

14U: Anaheim Lady Ducks

16U: Anaheim Lady Ducks

19U: Anaheim Lady Ducks

Girls Tier II

14U: Team Alaska

16U: Kenai Peninsula (KPHA)

19U: Team Alaska

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