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Sabres Look to Defend Dual Girls Nationals Titles

By Tom Robinson, 04/05/17, 7:45AM MDT


Shattuck-St. Mary’s School hopes to repeat at 16U and 19U levels

Shattuck-St. Mary’s School sends two teams to the 2017 USA Hockey Girls’ Tier I National Championships with the challenge of trying to defend national titles.

The Sabres 19U and 16U teams that will arrive in Rochester/Macomb, Michigan, for the April 6-10 tournament have already dealt with difficult tests, going a combined 91-14-10 while trying to live up to the lofty hockey standards set by the school’s history of elite teams and players.

“I would say this group of seniors has almost raised the standards,” said Gordie Stafford, who coaches the Sabres prep girls 18U team and in the past year took over as director of hockey at the Faribault, Minnesota, prep school. “We have girls here now who have won national championships every year that they’ve been here.

“They have very high expectations of themselves and I think they’re ready for this tournament.”

Shattuck-St. Mary’s has the defending national champions in the two age groups at which the school has girls’ teams. The Sabres program will account for the only Minnesota District teams at either Tier I or Tier II Girls Nationals.

The Sabres will be seeking their fifth straight 16U national title and fourth straight appearance in the 19U national final.

The prep team has 12 seniors, 11 of which are trying to repeat as 19U national champions. The other, Becca Foggia, is trying to win her fourth straight national title after playing on three straight 16U championship teams with the school.

Stafford praised the team’s “consistent drive to get better and willingness to work together.”

“In the truest sense of a Shattuck team, there’s no ego on this team at all,” he said of a group that features 17 players who have committed to NCAA Division I schools. “ … Our goaltending has been unbelievable; our defense corps could well be the best we’ve ever had and, with our forwards, we’ve got pretty good depth to our lineup as well.”

Shattuck-St. Mary’s beat the Elite Red 4-1 for the Minnesota District title on Oct. 25.

Prep team players Natalie Buchbinder, Clair DeGeorge, Maureen Murphy and Gracie Ostertag, as well as 16U defenseman Ally Simpson, were part of the United States National Team that won the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship in the Czech Republic in January.

Murphy, from Buffalo, leads the prep team with 45 goals and 40 assists. DeGeorge, from Anchorage, is the second-leading scorer with 32 goals and 47 assists.

The 16U team has its typical split of half holdovers from the defending national championship squad and half newcomers.

Returning players are forwards Maggie Connors, Makenna Webster, Carmen Merlo, Currie Putrah, McKenzie Hauswirth and Emma Kee, defensemen Simpson, Taylor Stewart and Givanna Foglia and goalie Eliana Ray.

Connors led the team in scoring at the 2016 national tournament with five goals and three assists. Webster tied for second with seven points.

Simpson, Stewart and Foglia were part of a defense that allowed just four goals in six games.

The defense is sharp again. The Sabres have allowed just nine goals in the 10-game winning streak they bring to Nationals.

“At this age, we practice so much and the competition is so good that our defense definitely does improve as the year goes along,” 16U coach Pete Johnson said.

Johnson thinks this year’s offense may be more versatile.

“We may might have a little bit more depth,” he said. “Our third line is a lot more offensive than we’ve had in the past.”

Webster leads the team with 41 goals and 54 assists.

With Simpson contributing from the blue line, the Sabres have nine players with at least a dozen goals.

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