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Rocky Mountain District: Cooley Backstops Tigers to Tournament Crown

By Anthony Perez, 03/23/17, 1:30PM MDT


Jr. Tigers Goaltender Shines, Helps Squad Punch Ticket to Nationals

GILBERT, Arizona - The Colorado Springs Junior Tigers clinched the Girls 19U Tier II title with a 3-1 victory over the Utah Lady Grizzles, and that was thanks in large part to goaltender Katy Cooley.

After allowing four goals on 23 shots to Utah in the tournament opener Friday, Cooley shut opposing offenses down, surrendering just one goal in her team’s final three games of the tournament and recording a pair of Saturday shutouts.

Cooley said she immediately reset herself mentally after her rough start to the tournament.

“I really focused on my play and the mental aspects of things,” said Cooley, who made 37 saves in Sunday afternoon’s championship game. “I was there physically but not mostly mentally.”

Tigers head coach Kevin Dessart couldn’t have been more pleased with the effort from his goaltender.

“Katie was on her game this weekend; she typically is. She’s an outstanding goalie, but she stepped it up the last three games,” said Dessart. “It was a different level of control and confidence.”

District Champions

Girls Tier I

16U: Dallas Stars

Girls Tier II

14U: Aspen Leafs

19U: Colorado Springs Junior Tigers

Lady Junior Coyotes Pile on Miles for Hockey

Two members of the Lady Junior Coyotes 14U Tier II squad don't live in the Phoenix metropolitan area and instead commute from other parts of Arizona to be a part of an all-girls team.

Forward Bella Contreras is from Flagstaff, which is about 150 miles from Phoenix. While it's a long commute for games, she and her mom make the drive south because of the lack of all-girls teams for Bella in Flagstaff. Despite that, she looks at the positives that come along with the situation.

"I just like playing, and the drive is good because I can rest," said Conteras.

“It’s definitely a time commitment, but she just has such a love for the game. If we can do it, it’s great,” said Contreras’ mother Lynette, who last season drove her daughter to the Phoenix area after work on Fridays. Her daughter would then practice or play games on Saturday and Sunday, then the two would drive back to Flagstaff afterward and arrive home around 10 p.m., with Bella back in class the following morning.

Teammate and fellow forward Willow Troy is in a similar situation.

She commutes from Tucson, which is over 100 miles from Phoenix. After feeling out of place playing on an all-boys team, Troy felt like the Lady Coyotes — despite the long commute — would be the best situation for her.

"I just make the time for it," said Troy when asked how she balances playing for a team two hours away with schoolwork and leisure time. "I told my friends, 'I can't hang out with you, I have hockey.' Everyone just knows that I play hockey instead of hanging out at times because it's more important to me."

And that's what the big commitment boils down to for both players, their passion for playing the sport they love.

In Other Action

In the Girls 14U Tier II bracket, the Aspen Leafs defeated the Colorado Lady Roughriders, 5-2, as they got three points in the contest (2-1—3) including the game-winning goal from Ava Gosnell.

In the 16U Tier I bracket, the Dallas Stars swept a best-of-three championship series against the Rocky Mountain Lady Roughriders. Goaltender Sophia Felton recorded a 20-save shutout on Friday evening, while Riena Jahnke scored the game-winner for the Stars in overtime on Saturday to clinch the title.

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