Following his team’s 1-0 win in the semifinals, Shattuck-St. Mary’s coach Gordie Stafford repeatedly preached the fact that winning isn’t easy.
If the Sabres didn’t believe Stafford before Monday’s national championship, they might now.
Following a hard-fought semifinal win against the Mid-Fairfield CT Stars, Shattuck-St. Mary’s completed its path to a second consecutive national championship by defeating the Chicago Mission 3-1 to win the 2017 USA Hockey Girls Tier I 19U National Championship.
While the Sabres have a storied history of success, they hadn’t had much experience in was a goal-scoring rut. Shattuck-St. Mary’s had scored just one goals in its last six periods coming into the game against a strong Chicago team.
Thankfully for the Sabres, that drought lasted just one more period. Trailing in the second period, Rebecca Foggia got Shattuck-St. Mary’s on the board and tied the game at 1.
“I knew eventually we would have to score,” Stafford said. “This is a good team that’s won a lot. They love playing in games like this.”
Later in the period, the Sabres took the lead for good thanks to Avery Dunn. She took advantage of an opening and hammered home the eventual game-winning goal.
In a game that didn’t feature much scoring, solid scoring opportunities were few and far between. But when Shattuck-St. Mary’s Brette Pettet got the puck on her stick during a power play late in the third period, she made it count. The Wisconsin commit put the Sabres up 3-1 and gave her team some breathing room.
“We practice our setup on the power play a lot,” Pettet said. “I saw an opening and hoped it went in.”
From there, Shattuck-St. Mary’s strong defense, which helped get the Sabres this far, prevailed once again. They held the Mission to just nine shots in the final period.
“We have an unbelievable group of six defensemen and great goaltending, Pettet said. “They continued to play their game throughout the tournament.”
When the clock hit zero, a feeling of excitement and familiarity overtook the two-time champions. There were no tears of joy, just a look of excitement and satisfaction.
For these girls, this isn’t a new feeling. The Sabres’ roster features a roster full of players that have gone through this run to the title before. This includes Pettet, who has won national championships in four of her past five seasons.
And while Pettet and Stafford, who has now won seven national championships as the head coach at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, have seen plenty of national championship games, playing in ones with as much competition is something they thoroughly enjoy.
“Games like this are so much fun to coach. You want to see competitive games like this,” Stafford said. “And for these girls, this was their final chance to play together on the same team. I tried to make sure they realized and that had fun with the special opportunity they had.”
|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|