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Mid-American District: Steel City Selects Sweep Girls Tier II

By Jim Smith, 03/23/17, 8:15AM MDT


Pittsburgh Pens Elite claim 14U Tier I title

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.

District Champions

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

Steel City Selects Making Return Trips to National Tournament

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.

Nail-biter Decides Tier I 19U Round-Robin Game

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.

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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