AMHERST, N.Y. -- Unlike the other age groups in the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier II Girls National Championships, which saw a lot of goal scoring, the 19-and-Under group has mostly been low scoring, close contests.
Highlighting this has been two goaltenders who played every minute in pool play and rarely let a puck past them. Both happen to play for teams with the nickname Storm.
Stephanie King of the Keweenaw Storm from Michigan allowed just one goal while Madison Scavotto of the Cape Cod Storm let just two in.
“She’s a very smart goaltender,” Keweenaw coach Glenn Patrick said of King. “She’s very smart in school, but she’s also very smart about the game of hockey and knows what to do. [She] has really learned how to position herself even though she is not a large goaltender. She has very good technique and knows when to challenge. She does a very good job in the crease.”
The only goal against King came in the Storm’s second game, against Princeton, in a 4-1 victory. It happened to be the first goal of the game in the first period, but King kept her team in it before they rebounded with four third period goals.
That game was sandwiched around two shutouts — 4-0 against Chazy and 7-0 versus Wyoming. The performance translates to a 0.33 goals-against average and a .978 save percentage.
As for Scovotto, she is right behind King with a .966 save percentage. Her two goals allowed is good for a 0.67 GAA.
Those goals came in a 2-1 victory over the Portland Jr. Pirates and a 5-1 win over Alaska. Scovotto wrapped up pool play by shutting out Steel City, 4-0.
“She is just so calm,” Cape Cod coach Scott Ghelfi said. “This is our sixth year that I’ve pretty much had the core of this team, and Maddy has been our goalie from day one. The only goalie I’ve had. She never missed a game. She’s calm, cool, steady. She’s really been the backbone of our team since day one. As the team has developed, she has developed along with it. She’s just a star.”
Of course, good goalies need strong defenses in front of them. For both Storm teams, this is no exception.
“We’re built from the goaltender out,” Ghelfi said. “All of our defenses are strong. All are all stars in their leagues and on their high school teams. I have full confidence in them. That’s never been our problem, the defensive zone. I think we take care of things there and build from there.”
Patrick said of his Keweenaw defense, “We have three brand new defenseman. They’re getting a lot of experience rapidly, but they’re really improving a ton out there. We have a system where we get a lot of help from our forwards. I think the whole team plays very well defensively.”
Goaltending and defense are trademarks of championships. If these two Storm teams meet in the knockout round, the game could go on for a very long time. Cape Cod opens against Naperville in the knockout round while Keweenaw plays Colorado Springs. The winner of those games will play Saturday night in the semifinals.
“The main goal that we always have is playing our best hockey by the end of the year, and hopefully the end of the year keeps continuing another day or two,” Patrick said.
“The dream was to win it,” Ghelfi said. “Our goal was certainly to be playing on Sunday. We all talked about it. We have some pretty accomplished players on our team. I like our chances.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.