BLAINE, Minn. – Chicago Mission and Shattuck-St. Mary’s met in the 2015 national title game, with Chicago winning 3-2. This year, the two teams faced off in the semifinals Sunday at the Toyota-USA Hockey Girls Tier I 19U National Championships.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s got the victory this time, 2-1.
“We just came in here trying to not change anything we’ve done all year,” said Shattuck-St. Mary’s coach Gordon Stafford.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s used quick scoring to grab a lead and hold on for the win. Katherine Hughes scored off the first Sabres’ rush of the game, giving her team a 1-0 lead 25 seconds in.
“That was huge,” Stafford said. “There’s just a different feeling on your bench.”
They extended the lead to 2-0 on a power-play goal from Brette Pettet’s stick at the 1:36 mark of the second period.
Chicago seemed to respond well after going down a goal and then two, with a strong forecheck and lots of offensive pressure. The Mission led shots on goal 10-6 after the first and 16-15 after two periods.
Chicago’s Kelly O’Sullivan cashed in on a rebound chance on a late power play, cutting the deficit to one with 2:30 left in the game. Chicago pulled the goalie but couldn’t get the equalizer.
Shattuck goalie Aerin Frankel made 26 saves. She came up big when Chicago was pressuring, especially near the end.
“She’s just a very competitive person,” Stafford said. “She welcomes that.”
MN Elite teams get it done in OT
In the quarterfinals early Sunday, all three of the MN Elite 19U teams were involved in overtime. Two moved on to the semifinals.
MN Elite Red beat MN Elite White 2-1 in overtime, while MN Elite Black was victorious 3-2 over Detroit HoneyBaked.
MN Elite Black was down 2-1 as time was winding down in the third, but Presley Norby scored a power-play goal with 1:49 left in regulation. Mekenzie Steffen scored the game-winner in the extra session.
It took a little longer to decide the all-Minnesota contest between Red and White. Allison Roethke scored at 2:56 of the second overtime to advance her team. It was a comeback win for the Elite Red. Grace Zumwinkle gave Elite White a 1-0 lead that they held until Carly Bullock tied the game for Elite Red with less than five minutes left in the third.
MN Elite Black coach Winny Brown is proud to have an all-female coaching staff to aid her players. She sees the importance because of a lack of female coaches around the girls’ game. The sport needs more of them, she said.
“I think, not that men don’t do a good job, I just think we need more females as role models and mentors,” Brown said.
That philosophy seems to have worked for her team. Players Steffen and Natalie Snodgrass raved about how amazing their coaches are.
“We all idolize her,” Steffen said, of Brown. “She’s like our second mom.”
Added teammate Snodgrass: “She really is.”
For Brown, it’s also about showing the girls they can perhaps become a college or high school coach, she said.
Cipra Aids Chicago Mission
Kathryn Cipra, a forward for Chicago Mission, became one of the tournament’s leading scorers early on. She had two goals in a 3-0 win Thursday over Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. Then it was a hat trick in Saturday’s 4-1 victory over MN Elite Red. She scored early for a 1-0 lead, then made it 3-1 in the third before adding an empty netter to cap off the hat trick.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.