FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- The Florida-based Lady Vipers beat the Northern Virginia Ice Dogs 2-0 a best-of-three series to claim the Southeastern District 16-and-Under girls’ title this weekend at the A-Game Sportsplex.
The district title earned the Vipers a berth in the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier II Girls National Championships March 26-30 in Lansing, Mich.
The Vipers blanked the Ice Dogs 2-0 in the opener on Saturday morning before edging them 3-2 later that night.
The Lady Vipers’ 14U team also qualified for nationals.
“Best thing in the world,” said Lady Vipers president Pauline Ade, who believes there are a lot of factors for the program’s success. “All the girls, the parents, the dedication, the love, the obstacles we have to overcome.”
Vipers 16U captain Courtney Gauthier, a center, said there aren’t many girls’ teams in Florida, so they play a lot of youth teams.
“It makes us better, though,” Gauthier said.
She believes the Vipers are a well-rounded club.
“We’ve got great goaltending, strong defense, strong offense,” Gauthier said. “We’re just all-around a really coherent group and we work good together.”
Vipers forward Emily Levin thinks hockey should be more popular in a southern state like Florida because it’s a good way to stay cool on warm days. Florida is the second-warmest state with an average temperature of 70.7 for the full year.
“If you think about it, it kind of makes sense to play hockey in Florida because it’s so hot you want to escape the heat and go inside and cool off,” Levin said.
Levin is headed to the national championships for the fourth time with the Vipers after making it with 12U once and 14U twice. She said it never gets old.
“It’s always really cool,” said Levin, who plays hockey at a prep school. “None of my family members even watched hockey until I randomly started playing. But, yea, I think I was born to do it.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.