This year’s USA Hockey Girls Tier II 16U National Championships have a different feel for the Vermont Shamrocks.
“Last year, we were the host team, so we got an automatic bid,” said Mark Gleason, Shamrocks head coach. “We were happy to be there.
“This year, we feel like we earned the trip. We’re excited about that.”
In 2016, the 16U Shamrocks played the host role, watched the program’s 19U team win a national championship and did just fine with their automatic bid. They won twice and lost in overtime during round-robin play to reach the quarterfinals where they fell 3-0 to the eventual national champion East Coast Wizards.
This time, the 16U team will be the only one representing the Shamrocks organization at Nationals in Troy, Michigan, from April 6-10.
The Shamrocks won the New England District title to make it to Troy.
As is commonplace throughout New England, the Shamrocks are a split-season team, playing together before the high school and prep season, then reuniting. They are 11-5 overall, but three of the losses were to 19U and 17U teams, and all came in the fall.
The players on the roster come from 15 different towns in the state. They play for six different high schools, the North American Hockey Academy and two out-of-state prep schools.
“Most of the kids compete against each other throughout the season,” Gleason said. “Most of the games, they’re on opposing teams. They get together after the games and give each other big hugs.
“The neat thing about the organization is, when they split up for their high school teams, they’re competitive as all get-out against each other, but when the games are over, they’re all friends again.”
The Shamrocks are 5-0 since getting back together, winning one tune-up game and going 4-0 in the district tournament. They beat the Maine Gladiators 3-2 in round-robin play and 4-2 in the final, completing a tournament during which they allowed just five goals.
The championship game featured a comeback from an early 2-0 deficit.
Taylor Coburn from Barre tied the game by scoring once each in the first and second periods.
The Shamrocks then produced goals two minutes apart in the final seven minutes.
Olivia Miller-Johnson from Essex scored the game-winner on a rebound of a shot from the blue line by Annika LaGue from Barre.
Emily Prive, from Morrisville, provided the insurance when a pass by McKenna Remillard, from Fairfield, sent her breaking into the offensive zone.
Maddie Hungerford, from St. Albans, and Leo Clark, from Stowe, split the goaltending duties in the tournament.
Vermont has been a fixture at 16U Nationals. In addition to last year’s quarterfinal appearance, the Shamrocks reached the semifinals the year before and won a national title in San Jose in 2013.
“The organization has had pretty good success getting to Nationals,” Gleason said.
Peyton Dukas and Miller-Johnson are back after leading last year’s team with three goals each at Nationals. Madeline Young returns after leading the team with four assists.
Forwards Emmalee Mazzariello, McKenna Remillard and Angelina Tommola and defenseman Abigail Gleason also return for another national tournament.
Miller-Johnson, a forward, and Hungerford, the goalie, earned First Team, All-State honors in Vermont from the Burlington Free Press while playing as teammates at Essex High School.
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|