TROY, Mich. -- Last year at the USA Hockey National Championships in Burlington, Vermont, the Brewster Lady Bulldogs of New York came up short in their quest for a 19U national title, finishing with a 1-2 record.
Fast-forward a year later, and the Lady Bulldogs are now more focused than ever on capturing that elusive title.
“Ever since last year when we made it to the nationals, which didn’t go well, we have been waiting for this opportunity,” said Lady Bulldogs Head Coach Lou Pedatella. “From the beginning of this season, all the girls wanted to do was make it back to the nationals.”
Pedatella felt last year was a “happy-to-just-be-there” state of mind for the girls.
“It was more like we were just glad to win a state title and appear at the nationals,” said Pedatella. “This year from day one, the mind set was to win at the nationals and the girls are ready for the challenge.”
This year’s USA Hockey Girls Tier II National Championships are taking place in Troy, Michigan at the Troy Sports Center, and the 19U level has twelve teams competing for the treasured title.
The Lady Bulldogs are a seasoned bunch with 13 returning players from last year’s team. They added a couple of girls to the veteran core and didn't miss a beat.
“We took those girls on and they fit perfectly on our team,” recalls Pedatella. “They meshed well with our team and [our] veteran core accepted them with open arms.”
Hayley Lunny is a star forward for the Lady Bulldogs and scored four goals in the opening round robin game, a 9-3 win over the Colorado Springs Lady Tigers. Lunny is center and has been accepted to play Division I college hockey at Providence this fall, fulfilling a lifelong dream.
“They saw me play when I was a sophomore in high school and it all came together from there. They were interested in me and I was very interested as well in attending the school,” said Lunny, who considers herself a power forward that thinks pass first and shoot second. “Providence really is my dream school. It’s everything I want in a school, the hockey, the education, the social and I have always wanted to play at a Hockey East school. I am proud to say I am a Providence Friar.”
Lunny is one of four players on the team that will play at the college level next fall.
Core players include Pedatella’s daughter Brianna, a solid and dependable defender on the blue line and also a professional model who was featured in a USA Hockey magazine article just a few months back. Also strong on the back end is defenseman Diana Oakes, and up-front forward Caitlin Reilly adds fire power with her offensive production. Other top forwards include Isabella DeLuca, currently tied for second in goals during the round robin with four, just one back of Lunny.
The Lady Bulldogs also carry three outstanding goaltenders that share the net equally. Erica Dudek, who backstopped the team in a pair of state title championship wins over the past two years, joins Jordan McKernan and Kayla Walewski. Walewski was in net in the 9-3 win over Colorado Springs.
These girls know how to win and are a very dedicated group,” said Pedatella. “None of the girls misses practice or games. They plan everything around the team.”
Pedatella believes his is a team of destiny whose time has come to win a national title.
“We have all the ingredients to win,” says Pedatella. “I believe in the girls and I think they will accomplish our goal to be national champs this year.”
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|