Last year, the USA Hockey Girls Tier I 14U New York District Tournament title game started with a goal right off the opening faceoff. The Syracuse Nationals scored that goal en route to a double overtime victory.
In 2017, it was Syracuse that was the victim of a quick goal. This time, the Buffalo Regals used that goal on their way to a 3-1 win.
Buffalo scored about as quickly as you can — nine seconds after the opening faceoff by Abby Ruggiero.
Over three minutes later, Nicole Tulowiecki tied the game on the power play. That was it for scoring until midway through the third when Emma Roland netted the game winner. Roland ended the tournament as the goal leader with seven in six games.
Buffalo coach Tom Ruggiero described the goal: "Fortunately, one of our better players, Emma Rolland, picked up the puck in the neutral zone and the Syracuse defenseman gave her too much time and space. We've been talking to her because she has a hard shot. She brought it over the blue line with some time and space and she just let it rip and it beat the goalie."
Abby Ruggiero scored an empty netter to clinch the game.
"Very intense," Ruggiero said of the game. "Could have gone either way. Both teams deserved to win this today. Congratulations to the Syracuse Nationals. Fortunately for our girls, this is a dream come true. I'm at a loss for words, frankly."
Buffalo beat Syracuse in the round robin portion, 5-3, as the Regals went undefeated on the weekend.
“The girls from the very beginning have played hard,” Ruggiero said. “Nothing would surprise me with this group. I think they are looking to go all the way."
They will be looking to do that at the USA Hockey Girls Tier I National Championships in Rochester/Macomb, Michigan, from April 6-10.
14U: Buffalo Regals
16U: Rochester Youth Hockey
19U: Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles
14U: Monroe County
16U: Potsdam Icestorm
19U: Brewster Lady Bulldogs
The other Tier I tournaments did not see close championship games, but did see both winners also go undefeated.
Rochester Youth Hockey routed the 16U competition. Twice, they scored 12 goals in a single game during the round robin portion. They won the title game, 6-1, over Clifton Park.
Caroline Goffredo scored twice, both on the power play. Kiara Zanon also netted two, with one coming with the man advantage. The top five goal scorers for the tournament were all from Rochester. Goffredo led the way with eight in five games.
The Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles repeated as the 19U champions. After edging the Buffalo Bisons in round robin play, 2-1, Niagara shutout Buffalo in the championship game, 4-0.
The game was clinched when Janey Sandoval scored a shorthanded goal in the last minute of the first period to make it 2-0. Jada Brenon earned the shutout. Rene Gangarosa, who did not score in the championship game, led the tournament with six goals.
Rochester and Niagara will also be traveling to Michigan for nationals.
Potsdam Icestorm won the 2016 Tier II tournament at the 14U level. Some of those girls moved up to the Under-16 team, and subsequently took down the 16U title. They did it by avenging an earlier pounding.
During round robin play, Potsdam won two games by 7-0 scores. However, they also let up seven goals in a game, losing to host Amherst Youth Hockey, 7-3. At the end of pool play, they finished second, giving them a rematch with undefeated Amherst in the championship game.
It wasn't easy, but Potsdam didn't waste their second chance in a hard fought 2-1 victory.
Initially, it appeared Amherst would again have their way against the Icestorm, when Holly Schmelzer scored early in the first. However, Alana McDonald got a power play goal early in the second to knot the game.
Gabrielle Jones, who led the tournament with nine goals in six games, got the game winner in the waning minutes.
The other Tier II final games were not as close. In 14U, Monroe County, also known as the Rochester Edge, defeated the Hamburg Lady Hawks, 4-1.
After a scoreless first period, Ariel Williamson scored in the second and third for a 2-0 lead. Cassidy Rockwood and Emma Corbett scored quickly afterwards to put the game away. Jillian Hlasnick broke the shutout.
Lucy Robertelli stopped every shot she faced in the tournament as Monroe County held their opponents to less than 12 shots a game.
Williamson and Hlasnick were the tournament goal leaders with six each.
The Brewster Lady Bulldogs took the 19U championship, defeating Cazenovia, 5-2.
Both teams lost a game in round robin play. In fact, nobody from either pool went undefeated. Cazenovia's loss was to Brewster, 2-0.
They had a second chance in the finals, but Brewster came out on top yet again, thanks to a 3-0 first period lead on goals by Kelly McMorrow, Hayley Lunny, and Madison Lyons.
Cazenovia scored twice in the second (Karley Baker on the power play and Meghan Roche) to make a game of it. Brewster regained control in the third on a shorthanded goal by Lunny and the clincher by Isabella DeLuca.
Elizabeth Collins of Massena/St. Lawrence led the tournament in goals with seven.
Potsdam, Monroe County, and Brewster all will head to Troy, Michigan for the USA Hockey Girls Tier II National Championships.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
|Youth Tier I (14U)||Scottsdale, Arizona||Arizona Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier I (15-year-olds only)||Scottsdale, Arizona||Arizona Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier I (16U, 18U)||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||Pittsburgh Penguins Elite||April 6-10, 2017|
|Girls Tier I||Rochester/Macomb, Michigan||HoneyBaked Hockey Club||April 6-10, 2017|
|Women's A, B, C||Rochester/Macomb, Michigan||HoneyBaked Hockey Club||April 6-9, 2017|
|High School||Cleveland, Ohio||Cleveland Suburban Hockey||March 22-26, 2017|
|Girls Tier II||Troy, Michigan||Troy Youth Hockey Association||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (14U)||Coral Springs, Florida||Florida Panthers Ice Den||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (16U)||Frisco, Texas||Texas Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (18U)||Lansing, Michigan||Lansing Hockey Club||April 6-10, 2017|
|Sled||San Jose, California||Sharks Ice||April 6-9, 2017|
|Adult Rec Men's||Wesley Chapel, Florida||Florida Hospital Center Ice||April 20-23, 2017|
|Adult Rec Women's||Ellenton, Florida||Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex||April 27-30, 2017|
Tag(s): District Tourney News