BLAINE, Minn. -- The St. Louis Blues 14U team was already 0-3 this season against their first opponent, Chicago Young Americans, at the Toyota-USA Hockey Girls Tier I 14U National Championships.
Luckily for St. Louis, this time they weren’t left singing the blues.
St. Louis beat Chicago 2-1 Thursday morning, in the opening game of nationals. It warranted a pretty jubilant celebration on the ice once time expired.
“We’re doing it for each other,” said forward Allie Corser-James. “We all want to make it. We don’t want to let each other down.”
Kaitlin Finnegan got the Blues on the board early in the second period. Then Corser-James scored a shorthanded goal a few minutes later for the all-important two-goal lead. She scored what turned out to be the game-winner off a 2-on-1 opportunity.
“I saw an opening in the slot, and I called for it,” she said.
Kathryn Pohl scored for Chicago later in the second to make it 2-1, but the Blues held on throughout the third period for the win. Blues goalie Lexi Levy got the victory in net with 26 saves. They’re a team that relies heavily on their defense and zone capabilities, said Blues coach Tommy Lange.
“And that’s what won us the game, is just doing the simple things and being disciplined,” he said.
It was a different story in the regular season. Chicago beat St. Louis 7-0 and 4-2 in back-to-back games in early November. The Blues were injured though, having just 10 skaters for that first game and 11 for the next.
A few days later, Chicago came away with a 2-0 victory.
“To our credit, we pretty much dominated the first half of the game,” Lange said. “But it was a 0-0 game. They got a fluke goal, our girls kind of got down a little bit, and they scored an empty netter to win 2-0.”
Lange describes the Blues as a blue collar team that works hard and relies heavily on its defense. They’ve gone 14-3 since January. Their players are spread out over a few states, so they don’t get to practice multiple times a week, Lange said.
They’re a completely different team at the end of the year.
“We got to work out all our kinks,” Lange said.
“The confidence on these girls has risen every time we played a game,” he said.
The Blues lost 6-1 to Mid Fairfield in the quarterfinals.
Penguins Elite Win Overtime Thriller
Last year’s runner-up Pittsburgh Penguins Elite won an overtime thriller 3-2 over Chicago Young Americans on Saturday. It was a back-and-forth contest until Haley Steffey ended it just 38 seconds into the extra session. Hannah Bilka had the two regulation goals for the Pens, one in the first period and one with three minutes left in the third for a 2-1 lead. But Chicago’s Kathryn Thurman scored with 46 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.
The Penguins, silver medalists last year, lost to Chicago Mission 4-3 in the quarterfinals Sunday. Pittsburgh took the lead in the third period, but it was short-lived as Chicago Mission’s Rachel Goff later tied the game, and then scored the game-winner shorthanded with 4:32 left in the third period.
Mission Control Breakers in Semis
Chicago Mission came from behind, scoring four unanswered goals to beat the Bay State Breakers 5-2 in the semifinals Sunday evening. The Breakers were up 2-1 after the first period, but Chicago’s Abbey Murphy tied it early in the second period. Then they poured on the offense with three, third-period goals. Danielle Castino and Morgan Olson scored just 15 seconds apart. Olson had two goals in the game.
Chicago Mission lost in the championship and took home silver medals.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.