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Capitols Play With Teammate in Mind

By Tom Herzig - Special to, 04/07/16, 10:15AM MDT


With Lilianna Parker sidelined for surgery, her teammates play on at nationals

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The Concord Capitols began their 2016 Toyota-USA Hockey Girls Tier II National Championship bid with the No. 17 jersey of teammate Lilianna Parker of Concord, New Hampshire and Vermont Academy hanging behind the bench.

As the Capitols were opening tournament play against the Brewster (New York) Lady Bulldogs, Parker was at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center preparing to undergo a second brain surgery to alleviate seizures.

“Lilianna’s on everyone’s mind,” said coach Chris Benoit, a native Vermonter who played at Plymouth State. “Several of the girls have gone to visit her. She’s hanging in there, but she’s lost about 15 lbs. and has had a part of her skull temporarily removed for the necessary procedures.”

Parker and her Vermont Academy teammate Lotti Odnoga were both on the Capitols roster, but Odnoga, a native Hungarian from Budapest, is currently in Europe playing for the Vasas Hockey Club.

Chris Benoit’s brother Jeremy, a former University of Vermont Catamount (’88-’92), is an assistant coach along with Chuck Sisson and Dwight Sperry. Wendy Houle is the team manager.

Chris Benoit’s daughter Miranda and her cousin Isabelle are team members. Abby Houle, the lone goalie, had 18 saves in the Capitols’ opening round 4-1 win over Brewster. Seven different players figured in the scoring. Domonique Boron scored twice. Sydney Faschetta and Mikah Baptiste also had goals and Morgan Sisson, Bridget Brook, Olivia Brandi and Drea Chin had assists.

Julia Surgenor, just out of a cast for a bad ankle sprain, scored two goals in the Caps’ 9-2 win over Brick (New Jersey) Hockey Club, as did Bridget Babcock.

Wizards Survive in Overtime

In their first-round encounter, the East Coast Wizards (Massachusetts) and the Steel City Selects (Pennsylvania) scrapped to a scoreless tie through regulation and five-minute overtime before the Wizards prevailed by shootout.

Kate Shaughnessy of Westwood, Massachusetts and The Rivers School and Angelica Mushenko from East Longmeadow, Massachusetts and Pomfret School, sent shootout bids into the net.

Emma Zeveney had to make 38 saves to keep the Selects in it. She snagged a hot backhander by the Wizards’ Jayden Young in overtime and also denied Rachel DiFraia from close range. Wizard goalie Kelly Lavelle had 10 saves, including a clutch stop as Steel City’s Charleigh Wagner barreled down the slot in the final minute of regulation.

Ice Dogs Rebound After Shutout

The Northern Virginia (NOVA) Ice Dogs emerged from the Chesapeake Bay Hockey League for their first ever trip to Nationals.

The Ice Dogs were penned in by powerful Assabet Valley 6-0 in their first game as Assabet goalies Samantha Dahill and Jordan Manning combined for the shutout. They bounced back for a 3-1 second round win over the Illinois Vikings, bolstered by Sydney Stropes’ 25-save effort.

Megan Jenkins, a tri-captain along with Frances Penney and Samantha Kadlec, scored the first-ever Ice Dogs goal at nationals with an assist from Kate Danziger. Kadlec’s twin sister Margaret set up the Dogs’ second goal  by Ciara Weets and then scored the final goal, unassisted.

“We’re not a high-scoring team,” coach Steven Guilbault said. “Everybody has to stand tall. Assabet was fast and we were a bit nervous on the big stage, but the girls had a blast later at the opening ceremonies and then continue to play well as they had in the final period of the first game.

“Sydney Stopes [a.k.a. Squid] is a very focused and determined goalie,” Guilbault said. “She doesn’t get surprised by shots and doesn’t let a weak goal distract her or get her down.”

Defenseman Charlotte Smith played a significant role in the Ice Dogs success this season, but was sidelined with an injury for nationals.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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