HACKENSACK, N.J. — The Philadelphia Junior Flyers wanted no part of overtime.
Thalia D’Elia made sure they didn’t need it.
D’Elia scored a power-play goal with 22 seconds left and team captain Sydney Bradley beat the final buzzer with an empty-net goal for a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Colonials in the third and deciding game of the USA Hockey Girls Tier I 14U Atlantic District Tournament championship series.
The Little Flyers used the win at the Ice House March 18 to qualify for their first appearance on any age level at the Chipotle-USA Hockey Girls Tier I Nationals, April 5-9 in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
The team, based out of the Ice Line Quad Rinks in West Chester, Pennsylvania, almost made it last year in its second season.
Going up against the same Colonials program that has a long history on the national level, the Little Flyers made it to the Game 3 only to hit a post late and lose in overtime.
With a tournament championship loss in overtime again this season and another overtime loss to the Colonials in the first game of this year’s district final, the Little Flyers had reason to be less comfortable in that setting.
“Overtime hasn’t been too kind of us,” said Little Flyers girls program general manager and 14U head coach Chris Baer.
The power play is a different story.
In what would normally have been a strength-vs.-strength battle, the Junior Flyers scored seven power-play goals in the three-game district championship series.
“Our power-play was working real well,” Baer said. “We knew going into it that one of the Colonials’ strengths has been their penalty kill. They’re aggressive and, all season, they get chances when they’re shorthanded because they don’t really let off.
“We’ve had a real strong power play. We’ve been working on it a good bit this year and fortunately I think that was the deciding factor for the series. Even strength, we were pretty evenly matched all series.”
The Colonials overcame three power-play goals to win the early-morning series opener March 17 when Leah Stecker’s second goal gave them a 4-3 victory.
Nina Winborn had a goal and an assist in the win.
The Little Flyers came back behind their power play and their top line, often with both in use at the same time.
Bradley centers a line with Mia Seravelli on the left and Kylie Aquaro on the right.
Seravelli scored the first two goals, then assisted on three more in a 6-3 win later on opening day. Aquaro had a goal and four assists.
D’Elia had a goal and an assist.
Bradley scored twice, including the first goal, in Game 3. Aquaro had a goal and an assist. Seravelli added an assist.
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Youth Tier I
14U: New Jersey Colonials
15-Only: Mercer Chiefs
16U: New Jersey Avalanche
18U: New Jersey Avalanche
Youth Tier II
14U PA: Palmyra Black
16U PA: Hershey White
18U PA: Quakers
14U NJ: New Jersey Wildcats Black
16U NJ: Jaguars Green
18U NJ: New Jersey Freeze
Girls Tier I
14U: Philadelphia Junior Flyers
16U: New Jersey Colonials
19U: New Jersey Colonials
Girls Tier II
16U: Princeton Tiger Lilies
19U: Montclair Blues
Ice Line Teams Advance in 14U Tier II
Both teams from the Ice Line in West Chester, Pennsylvania, made nationals at the 14U Tier II age group.
The Quakers swept the Princeton Tiger Lilies, 2-1 and 3-1.
Baer said the Quakers and Little Flyers are expected to join forces as one organization next season. For now, the Quakers are preparing for their own trip to Marlborough.
They got there with defense.
Lily Robitzer made 22 saves and came within 41 seconds of a shutout in the series opener. The Quakers gave up only 15 shots in the second game.
Tiger Lilies Win 16U Tier II
The Princeton Tiger Lilies reached all three Tier II finals and advanced on the 16U level with a three-game win over the Colonials.
Princeton won the opener, 4-1, then split a pair of 2-0 games, taking the series in the last game. Kristin Weiland stopped 76 of 79 shots in the series, including a 22-save shutout in the deciding game.
Gabby Massa had a goal and an assist in Game 1.
Abby Russel assisted both Colonials goals and Ginger Boles made 26 saves in two games.
Blues Top Princeton in 19U Tier II
The Montclair Blues followed the same route to winning the 19U title, taking the first and third games from Princeton.
Morgan Clifford scored the first two goals in a 3-2 win in Game 1. Carlie Van Tassel assisted on those two goals, and then scored the game-winner with 2:20 left in the first period.
Katelyn Brezniak made 19 saves and the Tiger Lilies scored twice in the third period to rally for a 2-1 win in Game 2.
Morgan Cassiliano made 17 saves for Montclair, which opened a two-goal lead on power-play goals in each of the first two periods on the way to winning, 3-1, in Game 3.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.