For the past two games, the Bay State Breakers hadn’t given up a goal to their opponent and failed to trail for even a minute of play.
But in the first period of Monday’s final, the Breakers found themselves trailing the Chicago Mission 1-0. Thanks to Skyler Irving, that odd feeling of trailing didn’t last long. The Bay State center lit the lamp to tie the game minutes later.
After a few games where the Breakers won with ease, Monday’s 14U Final was anything but a walk in the park. Bay State broke through, however, and won the 2017 USA Hockey Tier I Girls 14U National Championship by defeating the Chicago Mission 3-2.
Breakers head coach Ross Murray said he could sense there were some nerves with his team after falling behind early. But he knew his team would eventually light the lamp.
“I knew we could get a goal,” Murray said. “Teams have had a tough time shutting us out. These girls continued to work.”
After tying the game, it wasn’t long until Bay State found itself in the lead. Kate Ham scored on a long shot from the point. Then, Katherine Pyne, the tournament’s leader in points, hammered home a top-shelf goal that proved to be the game-winner.
“I just saw our defenseman and read the bounce. Then, I was able to pounce on the puck and put it in the net,” Pyne said.
But the early one-goal deficit wasn’t going to be the only adversity the Breakers would face. Bay State spent much of the third period killing penalties. These were various minor penalties along with a five-minute major for a check from behind.
This meant Bay State would have to dig in and slow down a Chicago team that was already pushing to get a goal.
But despite being down a player for an extended period of time, the Breakers pulled through, killing every penalty committed. Pyne said the key was the team’s aggressive approach.
“We always try and be aggressive when it comes to killing penalties,” she said. “We just try to get the puck and get it up the ice.”
For Murray, he saw a group that was determined to pull through and bring home the national championship.
“The amount of shots we blocked really showed how much we wanted to come in here and win the championship,” Murray said. “The commitment these girls put into the penalty kill was phenomenal.”
When the final whistle sounded, and the celebration begun, there were no more penalties to kill. Bay State was finally able to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.
“We’ve worked hard all season, and it to end it with a championship is amazing. It feels great,” Pyne said. “We were able to stay supportive and accomplish our goal.”
|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|