AMHERST, N.Y. -- When 12 teams participate in an age group at the Toyota-USA Hockey National Championships, three teams are put in four different pools. Then the first two pools cross over, playing teams from the other pool. Ditto for the second two pools. Thus, teams never play other teams from the same pool.
For the Tier II 14-and-Under girls’ national championships, Pool C teams swept all their games against Pool D. This meant the Cape Cod Storm, New Jersey Titans and CNY Bobcats all went 3-0.
“It’s going well. We’re glad to be 3-0,” CNY coach Sara Carr said. “We think we could still play better. But we did what we had to do to get through. Our goaltenders, Jessie Foote and Katie Kantor, have done a great job for us in net. Lexxy Romeo has been playing well on defense. The rest of them, they’ve all been putting in the effort. It’s been a team effort.”
“I think we’re peaking at the right time,” New Jersey coach Matt Kiernan said. ”I think we started off pretty strong and we’re happy where we are. We’re looking forward to the next round.”
Added Cape Cod coach Thomas Peterson, “I feel pretty good. My team has really stepped it up. They’re playing well right now. They’re doing the little things that we talked about all year, so it’s nice to see it all come together.”
To advance, the two pool groupings are combined and the top four point getters move on. The seedings are set to the overall standings after the four teams from each conference are identified.
This meant the unique situation of taking a winless team from Pool D. It came down to goal differential, and the honors went to Kensington Valley Ravens.
In the other conference, the Pittsburgh Predators and Team Alaska went undefeated. The Connecticut Polar Bears and Assabet Valley also advanced.
There was one overtime game in the knockout rounds, which came in the quarterfinals. New Jersey beat Connecticut 4-3. Jesse DeVito scored the winning goal at 3:45.
“We had a nice breakout play,” Kiernan said. ”We had a reversal off the boards, and we had a center flying through the middle. She caught the puck full stride, came in, deked the goalie, went five-hole. Great goal. Great win.”
New Jersey won its semifinal game against Pittsburgh 3-1 and went on to face Assabet Velley in the finals. Assabet made it to the finals despite only winning its first pool play game. Then the Massachusetts team beat Cape Cod 5-1 and shut out Alaska 6-0. Assabet defeated New Jersey 5-1 for the championship.
Despite winning the championship, Assabet was fourth in team scoring with 21. New Jersey led the category with 32 followed by Pittsburgh (28) and Cape Cod (27).
Individually, Rebecca Foggia of New Jersey led the division with 12 goals, two of which were on the power play and two of which were shorthanded. Foggia also led the tournament with 19 points.
“She’s a pure goal scorer,” Kiernan said.
Her teammate Brianna Haviland led in assists with eight. The Titans’ first line had the top three scorers. Behind Foggia were Jessie DiVito (9-7--16 with two shorthanded goals) and Haviland (7-8--15).
“They’re super talented, dynamic group of players,” Kiernan added. “Each player has something that they do very, very well, but they are well rounded.”
Between the pipes, Kelsey Czerniawski of Connecticut essentially played half of each of her team’s four games, sporting an 0.55 goals-against average and .975 save percentage.
For the teams that made it to the finals, Jordan Manning played in five of the six Assabet games, including the final. She had a 2.14 GAA and .893 save percentage.
Karoline Winzer played in every minute of New Jersey’s games, giving her a 2.30 GAA and .885 save percentage.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.