In the championship of the 2017 USA Hockey Mid-American Girls Tier I 14U District Tournament, the Pittsburgh Pens Elite shut out the Cleveland Lady Barons 3-0 behind 16 saves by Sophia Bellina.
Netting the trio of goals for the Pens were Mallory Mauracher, Hannah Humes and Faith Anthony. Ellie Marcovsky posted a pair of assists in the contest.
Lady Barons goaltender Margaret Hatch saved 29 of 31 shots in the losing effort.
“We really rely on that hard work [blocking shots, breaking the puck out, good back checks] to win games,” said Pens Elite coach Kate Binnie. “That's the backbone of our team; our speed and our hard work.”
Throughout the title game, each team displayed an impressive level of speed.
“Both teams skated hard. When we got the puck down deep on them and used our speed, that's when we had our success. That was our game plan, get the puck in, get it through the neutral zone and get it deep and then go to work in their zone. That's what we asked our kids to do and they did a good job. As they game went on I think we did better executing,” said Binnie.
In post-season tournament play, experienced players often lead the way for younger players who may be experiencing the playoffs for their first time.
“We have some second-year players; Mackenzie King, who I can turn to to turn it up, and defenseman Faith Anthony, whom we rely on. Both of our goaltenders can keep our team level-headed and in the right direction when things get shaky.”
The Pens will now advance to the 2017 USA Hockey Girls Tier I National Championships in Rochester/Macomb, Michigan, April 6-10.
Girls Tier I
14U: Pittsburgh Pens Elite
19U: Gilmour Academy
Girls Tier II
14U: Steel City Selects
16U: Steel City Selects
19U: Steel City Selects
For the second consecutive year, the Steel City Selects will send a trio of teams to the USA Hockey Girls Tier II National Championships, scheduled this year for Troy, Michigan, from April 6-10.
Selects teams will be participating in Tier II action at the 14U, 16U and 19U levels.
“I think our team was willing to learn the game and we focused on hockey IQ from day one,” said Jeff Tindall, 19U head coach. “As they were learning new things, they were like a sponge. Everybody was soaking up a little bit of everything.”
Forward Sara Gargasz tallied three goals and an assist during the tournament, while Charleigh Wagner added a pair of goals.
The defensive play of the 19U team was critical throughout the season and continued into the tournament as the defensive duo of Sydney Foy and Ella Tory and goaltender Katelyn Hill were keys to the Selects’ success.
“[Syd] Foy and [Ella] Troy are absolute warriors. They can play 45 minutes a game if you need them to. They are really special players,” said Tindall.
Hill earned a pair of shutouts during the tournament, stonewalling all 39 shots she faced.
The 16U team was equally impressive en route to their championship, having held their two opponents scoreless while totaling 12 goals of their own.
“I think we’re a pretty resilient team," said John Mudrany, head coach. "We played a lot of Tier I teams this year and it’s easy to get down in those games. But our girls just don’t quit. They keep skating, working and getting pucks on net. I think that carries us through these tournaments."
Allisyn Arotin scored four goals for the Selects throughout the event.
“For our program to be able to get all three teams back again provides a great experience for our players, which is what we ultimately want to do,” said Mudrany.
It required a shootout to determine a winner in the Girls Tier I 19U round-robin game featuring the Pittsburgh Pens Elite and Culver Academy after the teams skated to a scoreless tie in regulation.
This was the only game of the Mid-Am District Tournament requiring extra time.
Pittsburgh’s Anjelica Diffendal scored the game-winning goal in the shootout, despite having a problem with her skate.
“In the third period, I realized that my skate was broken and I just fought through it and played hard,” said the Pens’ forward. “In the shootout, I came down, saw the whole right side open low and, just shot it.”
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|