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Pacific District: San Jose Junior Sharks Win 19U Title on Home Ice

By Ray Hacke, 03/13/18, 1:00PM MDT


Hat trick from Blais-Savoie provides all the scoring in championship game

SAN JOSE, Calif. — No opponent can put more pressure on the San Jose Junior Sharks’ 19U women’s hockey team than the players put on themselves in practice.

“We have really intense practices where we really push each other to be the best we possibly can,” said goaltender Angela Hawthorne. “The pressure we put on each other helps us, especially in big games, because it helps us maintain focus.”

So when the reigning national champion Junior Sharks entered the USA Hockey Girls Tier II 19U Pacific District Tournament division final as underdogs — on their home ice, no less — they weren’t fazed.

Behind a hat trick from Evelyn Blais-Savoie and 18 saves by Hawthorne, the Sharks repeated as the Pacific District champions with a 3-0 victory over the Alaska All-Stars on Sunday at Solar4America Ice.

“It’s a great thrill to be able to earn our way back to nationals in front of our home fans,” said Sharks coach Bobby Long.

That was especially the case since the Sharks were playing before a larger crowd than usual, according to Hawthorne. Whereas the Sharks are used to playing before empty seats, the bleachers alongside Solar4America Ice’s East Rink were packed.

“We’ve never really had that before,” Hawthorne said. “We really fed off their energy. It was definitely a shock coming out of the locker room.”

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District Champions

Youth Tier I

14U: Los Angeles Junior Kings
15-Only: Alaska Oilers
16U: Anaheim Junior Ducks
18U: Anaheim Junior Ducks

Youth Tier II

coming soon

Girls Tier I

14U: Anaheim Lady Ducks
16U: Anaheim Lady Ducks

Girls Tier II

14U: Anaheim Lady Ducks
16U: Anaheim Lady Ducks
19U: San Jose Junior Sharks

The Junior Sharks entered Sunday’s game as underdogs by virtue of having lost to Alaska earlier in the tournament. The All-Stars defeated San Jose on Friday behind two goals apiece from Hannah Glover and Madeline Millar.

That loss was an aberration; the Sharks had defeated their other opponents by a combined score of 11-2. Hawthorne and fellow netminder Olivia Colgan combined for shutouts in two of those contests.

Both goalies got plenty of help from the defense in front of them — Kiley Searles, Claire Peterson, Maxx Goodman, and Jessica Lopopolo in particular. In the Sharks’ two shutouts, their opponents never managed more than 16 shots.

The Junior Sharks also benefited from a full day of rest after playing two games apiece on Thursday and Friday. The All-Stars, meanwhile, played twice on Saturday.

San Jose took advantage of the Alaska players’ fatigue, keeping relentless pressure on the All-Stars throughout the contest.

“Every shift, there was no let-up,” Blais-Savoie said. “Everybody kept pushing and pushing and pushing.”

Blais-Savoie put the Sharks on the scoreboard with 4:26 left in the first period on Sunday, then added a second goal with 11:13 remaining in the second. She then put an exclamation point on the victory by completing her hat trick with 52.6 seconds to play.

Ria Stevens assisted on each of Blais-Savoie’s first two goals. Natalia Etter and Marisa Trevino also recorded assists.

Blais-Savoie finished with a team-high seven goals for the tournament and nine points overall. Her sister, Juliette Blais-Savoie, and Trevino contributed five points apiece to the Sharks’ efforts.

Now that the Jr. Sharks have successfully defended their Pacific District title, they’re eager to defend their national title as well.

Not that they’ll feel any pressure to do so.

“We’re just honored to be back to defend our crown,” said Long. “All 16 girls work so hard together. They’re like family — they play for each other.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc

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