It was this season that Alyssa Wruble decided it was time to move on from playing hockey with the boys to finding an all-girls program.
Wruble, a 14-year-old from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, selected the New Jersey Colonials.
The choice worked out well for both the Colonials and Wruble.
“I thought this was the best team to go to,” Wruble said.
As they have in past years, the Colonials are sending multiple teams to the 2017 USA Hockey Girls Tier I National Championships in Rochester/Macomb, Michigan.
The three Colonials teams that made it this year by winning Atlantic District titles March 18-19 at the Ice Line Quad Rinks include the 14U Tier I team on which Wruble plays.
And Wruble’s performance is among the biggest reasons why the Colonials made it.
Wruble recorded a hat trick, providing all the team’s scoring including the overtime game-winning goal, in a 3-2 victory in the third and deciding game of the district championship series with the Philadelphia Junior Flyers.
The Colonials won all the Tier I titles this year, but two teams from the Junior Flyers program that makes its home at Ice Line and the 19U team from the New Jersey Rockets made it difficult.
The six wins the Colonials used to send three Tier I teams to Nationals included four one-goal victories, two of which required overtime.
While the other five Atlantic District series were all settled by two-game sweeps, the 14U Tier I series was stretched to a third game and that game was extended into overtime.
The Colonials allowed just 10 shots while winning the opening game, 3-1.
Leah Rubinshteyn, who also had an assist, scored with 7:24 left in the first period, just 32 seconds after the Junior Flyers had forced a 1-1 tie.
Emily Brightbill had a goal and an assist for the Junior Flyers when they won Game 2, 4-3, to tie the series.
Wruble gave the Colonials the lead three times in Game 3, including the overtime score that ended the series. Her short-handed goal with 2:10 left in the first period opened the scoring and another goal created the 2-1 lead the Colonials took into the third period.
The Colonials had their chances to put the game away. They outshot the Junior Flyers 7-2 in the third period, controlling much of the play.
The Junior Flyers put those shots together, however, and Jess Miller scored off a rebound for the tie.
The Colonials were unable to score on one power play during the third period and another that carried into overtime.
Wruble had the first shot at deciding the overtime just 23 seconds in, while still on the power play, but Rosalyn Lim-DeCastro, who finished with 23 saves, helped keep the Junior Flyers in the game.
An action-packed overtime period ensued with each team putting seven shots on goal before the game ended with 1:38 left in the 16-minute period.
The Junior Flyers appeared to have gained control later in the overtime.
“I was nervous every time they shot,” Wruble said.
Colonials goalie Ginger Boles made a tough glove save for the last of her 16 stops and caught a break when a shot rang off the post just 17 seconds before Wruble’s game-winner.
“They’re a blue-collar, scrappy team that was not going to give up,” said Sis Paulsen, who, as director of girls hockey for the Colonials, is on the bench for each of the teams in most games. “They had some opportunities there. Our goalie made some saves, we had some shot blocks and we got a couple bounces.
“Their goalie played extremely well and their defensemen played extremely well.”
On the winning play, Wruble was on the move immediately after winning a faceoff in the right offensive circle, setting up a shot by Nina Winborn.
“All I saw was the puck at the front of the net,” Wruble said. “I saw the shot going there, so I crashed the net.
Paulsen is hoping getting through the tight district championship series will help the Colonials at Nationals.
“It was a very good matchup,” she said. “All year long when we played them, it’s been very close games.
“It’s been great competition for us. We have a great relationship with them. I have a lot of respect for this organization here.”
The Colonials, who have won 43 Atlantic District girls titles since 2009, beat the host team on the 14U and 16U levels after earning the top seed and a bye into the finals as champions of the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Hockey Association.
On the 19U level, the Colonials were the third seed and had to beat the Junior Flyers in a three-game semifinal series just to reach the finals where they avenged last year’s loss to the New Jersey Rockets.
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|