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Massachusetts District: Shamrocks Defense Holds on for 1-0 Win in Tier II 19U Title Game

By Greg Bates, 03/20/17, 1:30PM MDT


In Tier I 14U, goaltending leads Spitfires to Nationals

When Boston Shamrocks’ Georgie Santullo poked the puck past the Massachusetts Spitfires goalie just 35 seconds into the Massachusetts District Girls Tier II 19U Tournament championship, little did anyone how big that goal would be.

That’s because it ended up being the lone goal of the game.

The Shamrocks played exceptional defense the rest of the way and held on for a 1-0 victory over the Spitfires at the New England Sports Center on Nov. 27 of last year. That victory qualified the Shamrocks for the 2017 USA Hockey Girls Tier II National Championships in Troy, Michigan, April 6-10.

“We joked in the locker room afterwards about that being the game plan,” said Shamrocks coach Steve Kennedy about the game-winning goal. “Score on the first shift and then hang on.”

Boston dumped the puck into its zone and it kicked off the boards in an unusual way. The puck found its way to the front of the net where a scrum ensued. That’s when Santullo found the loose puck and buried it.

Spitfires coach Ben Hamilton knew his team had plenty of shots to pull out the win with nearly the entire game still to be played.

District Champions

Girls Tier I

14U: East Coast Wizards

16U: Boston Junior Eagles

19U: East Coast Wizards

Girls Tier II

14U: North Shore Vipers

16U: Assabet Valley

19U: Boston Shamrocks

“We pretty much dominated play,” Hamilton said. “They might have got maybe five shots after that, maybe not even. Their coach came up with a plan and clogged the zone and they blocked so many shots. I think our girls started pressing too much and trying to do it all themselves instead of playing as a team like we have all year. We just ran out of time, and the Shamrocks played a great game.”

Kennedy was ecstatic his girls could hang onto the lead the rest of the way despite a barrage of opportunities by the Spitfires.

“To be able to put together a team defense and solid goaltending like that in the championship game on a big stage that these kids aren’t super accustomed to being on, that was really nice to see,” Kennedy said.

The Shamrocks coach noticed the composure from his players the whole game.

“One of the things that we try to emphasize is No. 1, have fun out there,” Kennedy said. “When things do get intense, we talk about maintaining your composure and maintaining a level of mental toughness — present-moment focus so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the moment and you just kind of focus on what you need to do with that time. The kids displayed a lot of character and a lot of determination and a lot of unity.”

The Shamrocks played sound defense in front of their rotating goalies Kasey Libby and Marina Mirabella, who split time in the game.

Once the final seconds had ticked off the clock and the Shamrock players had realized what they had accomplished, there was a feeling of relief.

“The kids were absolutely elated,” Kennedy said. “For me, I was able to look up in the stands and my wife was there with my two little kids, so that was really cool.”

Spitfires Goalie Hot in Net

At quick glance, the Massachusetts Spitfires had a seemingly rough tournament in Tier I 14U, losing all three of their games in the state championships in March.

However, the team had a stellar performance by its goalie, Natalie Stott.

She allowed just six total goals, keeping her team in every game.

The Spitfires faced the East Coast Wizards in the first game of the tournament. Stott surrendered a power play goal with just 17 seconds left in the third period for a heartbreaking 1-0 loss.

“Natalie stood on her head,” said Spitfires coach Ben Hamilton, who also coaches the Tier II 19U squad. “They definitely outplayed us and she really kept us in the game.”

Wizards coach Mike Girouard was impressed by Stott’s play between the pipes all tournament.

“She was just making the first save and controlling the rebound all night long,” Girouard said. “I don’t know the shots, but I know it was a lot.”

“She did great for us all year, and she really came to play [at the state tournament],” Hamilton said. “Not just her that came to play, the team came to play pretty hard, too. We played the Wizards three or four times during the year, and they beat us up pretty bad — 13-0, 8-0, 5-0, stuff like that.”

Against Assabet Valley, Stott was instrumental in sending the game to a shootout tied 1-1. She stopped the first six shots in the shootout, but Assabet Valley snuck one by Stott as her teammates couldn’t net a goal in a 2-1 defeat.

The Middlesex Islanders downed Stott and the Spitfires 3-1 in the final game.

Stott, an eighth grader, hasn’t received any college interest yet, but Hamilton wouldn’t be surprised if college coaches started to take notice after her phenomenal play at state.

“In my eyes, I feel she is probably the best goalie at that age level,” Hamilton said. “I knew that going into the season.”

Junior Eagles Soar to Title

The Boston Junior Eagles Girls Tier I 16U team was flat-out dominant in the state championship tournament.

The Eagles finished 5-0, outscoring their opponents 28-0. In the Nov. 27 championship game, Boston downed Assabet Valley 3-0.

Annie Berry, Courtney Hyland, Gaby Roy and Katie Tresca had three goals apiece in the tournament for the Eagles. Miceala Sindoris recorded a tournament-high seven points.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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2017 USA Hockey National Championship Sites

Division Location Host Dates
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