MARLBOROUGH, Mass. -- Assabet Valley scored two power play goals on Sunday to defeat rival Shattuck-St. Mary’s for its third straight 19-and-Under title at the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier I Girls National Championships.
The victory at the New England Sports Center was Assabet’s fourth in five years in the 19U age division. Shattuck won it five times between 2005 and 2011.
This year, Assabet’s home-state advantage over its rival from Minnesota was magnified by the fact that it had four girls who just returned on Monday from Team USA’s trip to the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship in Budapest, Hungary. Shattuck had five players on the same team.
“Being able to be with my family [after returning from Budapest] was really nice,” said Assabet’s Kenzie Kent, who scored the game’s first goal on a power play at the 14:20 mark of the second period, less than a week after helping Team USA win silver in Hungary.
Lauren Kelly’s power play goal at the 3:58 mark of the third period iced the game.
“I got the pass and I saw the girl diving at me, so I just shot it as quickly as I could and I went flying over her,” said Kelly, who will play for Northeastern University next year. “It kind of hurt, but it was exhilarating seeing everyone charging at me. I didn’t know [I scored] because I was on the ice.
“I just heard the crowd cheering. It still hurt, but it was a nice feeling.”
Alicia Barry assisted on the first goal and Lexie Laing assisted on both goals. Laing, who along with Assabet teammates Rebecca Gilmore and Caitrin Lonegran also traveled to Budapest with Team USA, said it was awesome to win in her final season with the team with so many fellow seniors.
“It’s amazing to win with everyone as our last game, and it’s very special to beat Shattuck,” said the Harvard University-bound Noble and Greenough senior who won her second straight 19U title.
Laing’s father Denis Laing coached each of the 19U championships victories.
“It’s always nice to win, and it’s always a different group of kids,” he said. “This one is bittersweet for me because it’s with my last daughter that is going to be at this level ever again. I’ve had three daughters, and they’ve all gone through this. The first time we beat Shattuck, my oldest daughter was there. Last year, my next one was there. Well, last year two daughters were there.”
Shattuck sent Patricia Marshall, Maddie Rolfes, Melissa Samoskevich, Brooke Ahbe and Baylee Wellhausen to play for Team USA in Budapest.
An emotionally exhausted Wellhausen, who was just named USA Today’s Player of the Year, admitted that the jet lag finally caught up to her in Sunday’s championship game — especially coming off a 3-2 triple-overtime semifinal victory against Honey Baked.
“In the beginning [of the tournament] I didn’t really feel it at all,” Wellhausen, who will play for the University of Wisconsin in the fall, said with bloodshot eyes from crying so hard after the game. “Personally I think we played our hearts out till the end. Even everyone who had jetlag, we just worked and it just didn’t go our way.”
Her coach, Gordon Stafford, said their team was also banged up with injuries coming into the tournament. He said three weeks ago they only had eight players at practice.
“When you go into a tournament like this you need a long bench and you need the hockey gods to kind of smile on you a little bit,” he said. “We had to blow a lot of fuel in our game against Honey Baked because they were so good. Then you only have so much energy going into the final.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.