MARLBOROUGH, Mass. -- After spending more than two weeks at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women's World Championship earlier this week in Hungary, Katie Burt was glad to back in her own bed on Monday night and on home ice on Thursday afternoon.
The 17-year-old goalie from Lynn, Mass. helped the U.S. National Women's Under-18 Team earn a silver medal just days before her 16-and-Under East Coast Wizards squad began play at the 2014 Toyota-USA Hockey Tier I Girls National Championships at the New England Sports Center on Thursday.
“I got home Monday night at like 7 o’clock,” she said after a 3-2 overtime victory against Honey Baked on Thursday. “It was like 24 hours of traveling. It was brutal.”
Teammate Chiara Pfosi minded the net for the Wizards in their 7-3 victory against Charles River on the tournament’s opening day on Wednesday.
“I took Tuesday, it was a mental day for me,” said Burt, who has verbally committed to Boston College. “It was much needed. I actually had to go to school. I came back yesterday for our game and let Chiara take care of that.”
There were no signs of jet lag on Thursday. Burt saved 25 shots before Jacqueline Diffley scored the game-winner over Honey Baked with 1:16 left in overtime.
Honey Baked of Michigan seemed to be in the driver seat after going up 2-1 after the opening period.
“[Burt] made an amazing glove save late in the second period that I think really took some steam out of them,” Wizards coach Kevin Harrington said. “We were able to come out in the third period and pick our game up. So I think the players get all the credit.”
Burt said transitioning back to stateside hockey wasn’t a problem after she put on the Team USA sweater for the first time in Budapest. She tended the net in victories against Hungary and the Czech Republic before Team USA lost in the gold-medal game to Canada.
“It was an absolute honor,” the Buckingham Browne & Nichols junior said of wearing the Team USA sweater. “You can’t really describe the feeling you get the first time you put it on.”
Burt is one of 18 players from the 2014 U.S. U18 team who is playing in nationals this week, but almost all of those players are playing in the 19U tournament.
“Everyone was trash talking, and I’m just sitting there,” she said of the locker room banter in Hungary. "The rest of them are U19. The rest of them are trash talking, ‘Oh we want to win, we’re playing you guys,’ and I’m just sitting there like, ‘I have nothing to say.’"
The Wizards are actually the host team of the Tier I girls national championships. The home-ice advantage could help Burt win her first national championship since she won it with the 12U team in Wisconsin.
“We’re going to have to fight hard,” she said. “We never actually played Shattuck [St. Mary’s of Minnesota], so we don’t know what they are going to bring to the table. We know they are good. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and we know we are going to have to grind it out.
“It’s a long tournament games-wise. It’s a lot of games in a short period of time, which is tough.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Eight months ago, the Indianapolis Racers 12-Under Tier II boys team began its season. The journey had it fair shares of highs and lows, but it ended where few teams get to go — in the USA Hockey National Championship game.
Backed by fast starts throughout the tournament, Indianapolis got out to another quick start and never looked back en route to a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh 98’s in the 2A championship game Sunday afternoon at Sharks Ice in San Jose.
Indianapolis wasted little time showing who the top team was on Sunday. The Racers potted two goals in the first period, started off by a scrum in front. Joey Bolger poked in the loose puck to open the scoring with 5:34 left in the first period. Will Schlagenhauf then poked in a backbreaker with less than a minute to play in the period. After a wraparound try was denied, Schlagenhauf picked up his teammate and cleaned up the mess in front.
The far post tap-in gave the Racers a 2-0 lead after one period.
“It was a great start,” Indianapolis coach Fred Knipscheer said. “We have been doing that the whole tournament. The kids didn’t show any nerves early, which was great to see. We have depth all the way through the lineup and we were able to use that again to our advantage today.”
Jack Knipscheer and Joey Barone assisted on the second goal. The unselfish play was a trademark of the Racers’ championship effort throughout their stay in San Jose.
“Fourteen of our 16 skaters scored a goal this week,” Knipscheer said. “It’s unbelievable. The boys knew their roles and really played outstanding hockey. Everyone on our roster had a part in us getting here.”
Matt Sawyer continued the Indy fun midway through the second period, scoring a power-play goal to extend the advantage to 3-0.
“We usually start games good,” Racers captain Riley Doyon said. “We all want each other to do well. It’s been a great experience. Right from the start, I always knew that we could do this.”
Sawyer lifted a wrist shot high into the top corner to end a strong power play with a goal.
The Pittsburgh 98’s came into the finals undefeated along with the Racers. The black-and-yellow clad bunch scored the first of two goals on the afternoon late in the second period.
Aiden Beck buried a pretty crossing feed from teammate Brendan Walkom to get the 98’s on the board with 1:31 left in the second.
Roman Kraemer tipped in the second Pittsburgh goal midway through the final period of play.
Nikita Slivchenko and Billy Harris each got assists on the score.
Justin Whited and Doyon each added goals for the Racers in the final period. Whited picked up a rebound next to the post and zipped behind the net to wrap in the pretty finish.
Doyon’s empty-netter started off the celebration with just less than a minute to play.
“It was crazy,” Doyon said about his emotions after the empty-netter went in. “I was just so happy that we did it. I just wanted the game to end so I could celebrate with my teammates.”
Story courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.