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14U Chicago Mission Girls Follow 19U Mentors to Nationals

By Greg Bates - Special to USAHockey.com, 04/01/14, 4:30PM MDT

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FOND DU LAC, Wis. -- The girls who play for the Chicago Mission Tier I 14-and-Under hockey team have some great role models.

The 14U players look up to the Mission’s 19U girls’ team, which is ranked No. 1 in the country in its division and is gunning for a national title.

The Mission 14U team is right in line with the 19Us, and the younger girls moved a step closer to their ultimate goal Sunday by winning the Central District Tier I 14U tournament at the Fond du Lac Family Ice Center and punching their ticket to the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier I Girls National Championships.

“It’s a good group of young kids, lots of talent,” Mission coach Tony Cachey said. “They’ve been the top team in the country all year and have had a bull’s-eye on their back since Day 1, and everybody’s coming at them.”

The Mission played two solid games in the district tournament, downing the St. Louis Lady Blues 7-1 Saturday and beating the Milwaukee Admirals 2-0 Sunday.

“I think we had a great weekend and played as a team,” Mission forward Jesse Compher said.

The Mission put up four goals in a span of 6 minutes, 47 seconds in the opening period en route to the dominating win over the Lady Blues. Emma Jurusik and Angelica Melone each scored two goals apiece and Lanie Lobdell added a pair of assists in the victory.

In the championship game against Milwaukee, Chicago netted two first-period goals, which proved to be the difference.

“The goal in the first period kind of set the momentum, and once we got that goal the kids kind of settled down a little bit,” Cachey said. “The nerves kind of went away and they basically played like they’ve been playing all season. They were just relaxed and composed. When the second one went in, I think they felt like we had it and we just had to keep working hard.”

Amanda Tomasek scored the second goal near the midway point of the first period. The defenseman saw one of her forwards coming off the boards, snuck past one of the Admirals’ forwards, received a pass and one-timed the shot by the goalie.

“I’ve never scored in a big game like this before, so when I scored my smile was pretty big,” Tomasek said.

Getting on the scoreboard first was a big boost for Tomasek and her teammates.

“When I got back to the bench we were all really excited because we knew we could do this as a team,” said Tomasek, who has played in the Mission program for four years.

The Mission used their stifling defense the rest of the game to shut down the Admirals.

“We did our normal forecheck and didn’t give them any space and kept shooting the puck a lot,” Compher said.

The Mission will now prepare for the national championships on April 2-6 in Marlborough, Mass. The majority of the girls on the Mission have never played in nationals, but Cachey doesn’t think his players will be too startled on the big stage.

“It’s a thing you have to coach, and we’ll coach them up through that,” Cachey said. “For the most part, I think they’re ready, and it’s a learning thing. You learn how to play in big games and you can’t learn it unless you’re in them.

“Just go play well and they have a chance to do something special.”

Compher believes if the Mission can play their game at nationals, the team will be hard to beat.

“We need to work as a team and not give up any odd-man breaks or anything like that,” she said.

Tomasek isn’t shy about what her goal is for her team.

“To win all six games that we have to play,” she said.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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