AMHERST, N.Y. -- During pool play of the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier II Girls National Championships, the Marquette Sentinels beat the Charles River Blazers 5-1. In that game, the tournament’s leading scorer, Allison Carlson, scored all five for Marquette.
The two teams worked their way through the knockout rounds and found themselves facing each other again for the 16-and-Under championship game.
This time, Charles River reversed the result, beating Marquette 2-1 with Brenna Galvin notching the third-period game winner. Also, this time the Blazers kept Carlson off the scoreboard.
“We had two losses going into the [Marquette pool play] game, so that was our third loss all season,” Charles River coach Ben Dawes said. “They were big, physical, fast. It was 2-1 after the second period. We got a lot of penalties. They put the pressure on and knocked us on our heels and took us off our game, and we lost. So today we knew it was going to be same type of game. And we just knew we had to play our game, keep the pressure, and get the shots on net.”
Charles River grabbed the initial lead at 9:58 of the first period. Meghara McManus cut through the slot and, while falling, let off a wrister into the far corner to beat Marquette goalie Hannah Riesland.
Marquette tied the game on a two-man advantage early in the second. Kirsten Iwanski fired a shot from the right point through a crowd, which sailed past Charles River goalie Jessica Olivieri.
Carlson, who ended up with 18 goals, could not get her team the go-ahead tally.
“We actually told the girls we don’t believe in shadowing,” Dawes said. “So we really didn’t shadow her. We obviously knew when she was on the ice. But we just wanted to keep the gaps full. The D really stood up well just inside the blue line. We just needed to play our game. We were very aware of her. She’s a very talented, good player, but we didn’t want to shadow her because it would take us off our game, and what was really important was to stay within ourselves.”
The game winner came at 9:41 of the final period with the teams skating four aside on a somewhat flukish goal.
“The puck was bouncing,” Galvin said. “I got it deep and took it around the net and nice wraparound and put it in behind her pads.”
Riesland couldn’t get across the net fast enough while her defender was trying to knock it off Galvin’s stick. In the end, the backhander found its way across the goal line.
The tension mounted for Charles River when a tripping call was made against Galvin with 1:52 left in regulation. Marquette chose not to pull its goalie immediately, but it didn’t get another opportunity to do so until 30 seconds remained on the clock.
The Sentinels were unable to mount much pressure during the power play to get the equalizer.
“A hard battle,” Marquette coach Jeff Cornock said. “We knew they were a good team when we played them the first time.”
The reason for the reversal of fortunes?
“They were a little better in their defensive zone [this time],” Cornock said. “We like to work out of the corner, and they got down there and made it tougher for us. They didn’t let us do some of the stuff we were able to do in the first game and turned it into a real battle.”
Dawes said, “We knew it was going to be a very hard fought game. We knew it was going to come down to pressure, keeping the puck deep. They are a big, physical team. We just had to stay within our game, and try to keep them on their heels. And we knew it was going to be a one goal game.”
A one-goal game it was, leaving the hero, Galvin, elated.
“We’re very excited,” she said. “We worked really hard this season to get here. Everyone is very, very happy to be here.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.