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Notebook: Hot Goalie Drives Penguins Elite to 16U Quarterfinals

By Greg Bates - Special to, 03/30/15, 4:45PM MDT


Emily Cramer had 48 saves in one game for the Pittsburgh team.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Emily Cramer was in a zone.

In the first two games of the Toyota-USA Hockey Girls Tier I 16U National Championships, the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite goalie stopped all 60 shots that came her direction in two victories.

“It’s not surprising,” Penguins Elite coach Phoebe Manchester said. “Emily’s a fantastic goalkeeper and she’s really battled through this year and continues to raise her game. The more she’s challenged, the better she does.

“I told my team, I always go by the first rule of hockey, that’s the GAGG rule, ‘get a good goalie.’ So, we’ve got one of those. Hot goalies and lucky bounces, we’ll take wins any way we can get them.”

Cramer relies on her defensemen quite a bit, as well as big games from her offense.

“They know how to work it up front, and I hold them in the back,” said Cramer, which finished with seven shutouts this season. “It all works.”

After a 12-save outing in the Penguins Elite’s opening-round 12-0 victory over the Washington Pride on Thursday, Cramer had her best performance the next day against top-seeded East Coast Wizards.

The last time Cramer faced the Wizards in the regular season, she was pulled in the first period after allowing three goals in the opening six minutes of the game. Ever since that game, Cramer has been on fire between the pipes.

Her first save against the Wizards at nationals set the tone, Manchester said.

“We could have been down 2-0 in the first 10 minutes and that game would have been totally different,” Manchester said. “She held us in there, and our team got our feet underneath us. It was awesome. Total team play.”

Cramer finished the game with 48 saves, 21 in the first period, as the Penguins Elite won 3-0.

“Emily makes all the stops she needs to make; she also makes all the stops that you don’t think she can make,” Manchester said. “That’s what makes her a great goalie.”

With the Penguins Elite’s backup goaltender hurt and unable to come to nationals, Cramer was in net for every game. Cramer, who has played goalie for 11 years, starting when she was 4, saw the puck well all weekend and was confident.

“Moving, talking to my D and making sure everyone’s not standing in my way, and if there are people in front of me, get them out,” Cramer said.

Unfortunately, the Penguins Elite team was knocked out of the tournament in the quarterfinals as Honeybaked scored a 2-1 victory in overtime.

Cramer, who is a freshman at St. Clairsville High School (Ohio), is starting to get recruited by colleges. She is hoping to compete at the Division I level.

“I think whatever school gets her is going to be very happy,” Manchester said. “She’s only getting better on the ice.”

Turgeon Shines Like Dad

When Val Turgeon scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in Shattuck-St. Mary’s 3-1 victory in the national championship game, her dad, Pierre, was in the crowd enjoying the moment.

Pierre played 19 exceptional seasons in the NHL, but the retired center can now watch his daughter at the rink.

“Going to Shattuck, the reputation they have and the hockey people they have, it’s just been a great experience,” Pierre said of the Minnesota school. “She’s our baby girl, so we’re missing her at home, obviously.”

Pierre is making sure Val isn’t feeling pressure on the ice just because her dad was an NHL player.

“You’ve got to go out there and have fun and enjoy it, that’s what it comes down to,” Pierre said. “I’ve told her, ‘You don’t have to look like me or your brother or your sister. Just do the best you can and go out there and have fun.’ That’s what she’s been doing. She loves the game.”

Val finished with three goals in the national tournament.

Scoring Machine

Assabet Valley’s Rebecca Gilmore came out on top in scoring at the 16U level. She ended up with 12 points (seven goals and five assists). Gilmore had all seven of her goals in the first three games, including registering a hat trick and an assist in a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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