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16U Potsdam Icestorm Girls Hope to Follow Clarkson’s Lead

By Russell Jaslow - Special to, 03/27/14, 6:00PM MDT


You have to forgive the folks in Potsdam, a small town in the northern reaches of New York, if you observe they are acting a bit strange.

They are a bit giddy right now.

The Clarkson University women’s hockey team just brought home the town’s first NCAA Division I national championship.

Now they would like nothing more than to do it again as they send their girls 16-and-Under team to the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier II Girls National Championships next month in Amherst, N.Y.

“It’s been inspiring,” coach Mike Grant said of the college team, which beat two-time defending champion University of Minnesota 5-4 in the Frozen Four title game over on Sunday. “All the girls watched the game on the Internet. They went to as many games as they could. They want to take home another national championship if at all possible.”

The Potsdam Icestorm barely even got into the state tournament. Only three teams from the section got in, and Potsdam was No. 3.

“We got in by the skin of our teeth,” Grant said.

Then the Icestorm squeezed through the state tournament, winning every game by one goal except the championship game, which they won 3-1 over Monroe County. They took the three round-robin games, then needed overtime to beat Brewster 2-1 in the semifinals. Madee Derouchie, who is playing up an age group, got the game winner.

Potsdam’s strength is defense and especially goaltending, which yielded six goals in five games including a shutout.

“Our goalie, Allie Compeau, has kept us in many games.” Grant said.

It’s the other side of the ice Grant would like to see improvement. Out of the 12 goals scored in the state tournament, his daughter, Kalie Grant, scored seven of them.

“People have stepped up in their roles,” he said. “We’re improving defensively, keeping the puck out of the net. We’d like to get more balanced scoring.”

The hardest part of the season has been getting the team together. All the players compete on four different high school teams. Sundays are the only day of the week they can play games and practice, so they don’t have too many games under their belt.

With this obstacle, and barely even getting into the state tournament, should this team be considered underdogs heading into national championships?

“No. We’ve done well in the nationals before,” Grant said. “We’re a small community, but people know we produce good hockey teams. The first year [a Potsdam girls’ team made the national championships], the 19U team got to the quarters. Two years ago, the 16U team lost in the semis. Last year they lost in the finals. I guess we’re ready to step up and hopefully bring home a championship.”

Last year, the 16U team breezed through the round robin, winning all three games. They beat Arizona 6-2 in the quarters and defeated the East Coast Wizards 3-2 to make it to the finals. However, they fell 4-1 to Vermont in the title game.

“We’re looking for the same thing — win our first three games and then work our way through to the finals again,” Grant said.

If the Potsdam Icestorm 16U team can take that next step, the folks in Potsdam will be over the top with excitement.

Grant summarized his team: “They work hard. They play for each other. No drama.”

This is similar to a certain college team from the same town that just put a national championship trophy in its showcase.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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