AMHERST, N.Y. -- Unlike the other age groups, the 19-and-Under division at the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier II Girls National Championships was more about defense and goaltending, with the high-scoring teams spreading their scoring around.
The top goal scorers didn’t even hit double digits, and the top points getter only had 11. Kallie Villemaire of Chazy Lady Flyers and Jessica Schlaff of Keweenaw Storm each scored seven goals, while three players had six — Madison Haberl (Cape Cod Storm), Alanna Herne and Jordan Roetzer (Buffalo Stars). Herne and Schlaff had 11 points as Haberl and Villemaire had 10.
The balanced scoring led to a few marathon affairs. In pool play, Naperville Sabres and Princeton Lady Tigers played to a scoreless tie. After five minutes of overtime, they went to a shootout. Princeton finally won it after 10 shooters.
In quarterfinal action, Keweenaw needed double overtime to beat Colorado Springs Tigers 2-1. Madison Labyak scored in the second to give Keweenaw the initial lead. Rebecca Brown tied it up at 8:09 of the third. After a scoreless 10-minute overtime, despite Keweenaw outshooting Colorado Springs 14-2, they cleaned the ice and set up for another 10-minute extra period. Schlaff scored the game winner at 2:20.
Battle of the Best
Keweenaw, from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and Cape Cod were the only teams to go through pool play undefeated. Thus, it was appropriate they met in the championship game.
“Very pleased,” Cape Cod coach Scott Ghelfi said after pool play. “I think we got off to a slow start. … I couldn’t be more pleased to be in the situation we’re in.”
“So far so good,” Keweenaw coach Glenn Patrick said. ”We had some good periods. We had some bad periods. The girls are moving the puck well, which we like to do. I think if we keep continuing to do that, we’ll be all right.”
Cape Cod had an easy time in the playoffs, bucking the low scoring fad in the 19U group. It beat Naperville 9-1 and shutout Chazy 7-0. After the double overtime win, Keweenaw clobbered Buffalo, 8-3.
It was no coincidence the two finalists had the two best goaltenders in the tournament. Madison Scovotto of Cape Cod had an astounding 0.67 goals-against average and .965 save percentage with two shutouts.
“She is just so calm,” Ghelfi said. ”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.”
After the tight final that saw Cape Cod eke out a 2-1 win, Ghelfi said, “Thank God for Maddy Scavotto. She came up huge when we needed her.”
Keweenaw’s Stephanie King had an impressive 1.12 GAA and .930 save percentage with two shutouts.
“She’s a very smart goaltender,” Patrick said. ”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.”
Massachusetts swept the Tier II girls national titles with teams from three different areas around Boston. The 14U team, Assabet Valley, is from Concord, one of two towns where the Revolutionary War stated, and their logo is appropriately very patriotic.
The 16U team, Charles River, hails from the area southwest of Boston. And, of course, Cape Cod is a prime vacation spot for New Englanders.
“Congratulations to Assabet and Ben Dawes of the Blazers,” Ghelfi said. ”It’s just incredible for Massachusetts.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.