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Assabet Valley Sends Three to Nationals

By Tom Robinson - Special to, 03/17/15, 9:00AM MDT


The Massachusetts Powerhouse Won Three Girls National Titles Last Year

Assabet Valley, a Concord, Mass.-based program with a long history of national tournament success, is sending three Massachusetts state championship teams to this year’s Toyota-USA Hockey Girls Tier I and Tier II National Championships.

They are Tier I 19U and 16U and Tier II 14U.

The Assabet Valley Tier II 14U team is the defending national champion while the Tier I 19U team has won the past three national titles.

The Massachusetts Tier I and II 14U tournaments were held in March, while the other divisions were contested in November. The national championships are scheduled for March 26-30 with Tier I teams reporting to Green Bay, Wis. and Tier II teams reporting to Lansing, Mich.

When they get there, the Assabet Valley teams will be trying to add to impressive totals. The program has produced 49 national championship teams and 30 more national finalists. It also has 133 state/regional champions, including one this year at 10U, which does not have a national event.

Capping Off Strong Seasons

Assabet Valley’s 19U team followed up an unbeaten New England Girls’ Hockey League 19 National Division season by beating the Bay State Breakers 2-1 in double overtime to claim the Massachusetts title. It was the only state title game in which both teams did not advance to nationals. The other Massachusetts divisions sent both finalists to nationals.

The 19U team earned the state title despite losing once in pool play. It allowed just two goals in four wins.

The 16U team won the title 3-2 over the East Coast Wizards. That completed a tournament in which it outscored opponents 20-4 in five games.

Working Overtime in Tier II 14U

Assabet Valley had to win two overtime games, one with elimination on the line and another after trailing by two goals going into the third, to take the Tier II 14U title.

In the quarterfinals, Katie Puumala scored the winner in overtime to clinch a 2-1 win against the Boston Junior Eagles.

Assabet Valley topped the Massachusetts Spitfires 3-1 in the semifinals.

Then, in the final, Assabet Valley went down 2-0 but rallied in the final nine minutes of regulation against the East Coast Wizards. Tati Rachlin started comeback on a breakaway goal. Halley Douglas scored with two minutes left on an assist by Hannah Keefe.

Shannon Bucci ended it 28 seconds into overtime. She stole the puck at her defensive blue line and took off on a breakaway to score the decisive goal in a 3-2 win.

“Our team peaked at the right time, and it took a complete effort from every person on the team to make it to nationals,” coach Mike Houlihan said.

With Sam Dahill and Kristen DiCicco splitting time in goal, Assabet Valley allowed just four goals in six games. The team posted shutouts in all three round-robin games.

Dahill is the only player back for the national championships. She stopped 22 of 23 shots in her only appearance at last year’s nationals.

Junior Eagles Win Tier I 14U

In the other Massachusetts title decided in March, the Boston Junior Eagles defeated the Massachusetts Spitfires 3-1 to claim the Tier I 14U title. The Junior Eagles went unscored upon in three pool play games and outscored five tournament opponents, 25-2.

More Wizards

The East Coast Wizards won titles on the Tier II 19U and 16U levels. East Coast’s 19U team recovered from a pool play loss against the Boston Shamrocks to win a rematch 4-1 in the title game. Including the Tier I 16U runner-up team, the Wizards are sending three squads to nationals. The Wizards are a Bedford, Mass.-based program with club teams competing in ice hockey, field hockey and lacrosse.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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