Anaheim almost rode two marvelous minutes late in the first period all the way to a win Thursday at USA Hockey’s Girls Tier I 16U Nationals.
Buoyed by Lindsey Labadie’s sparking save of a Rachele Whitehead would-be tap-in, the Lady Ducks quickly struck for two goals in the final 90 seconds to gain control against a slow-starting Pittsburgh Penguins Elite squad.
But just when it looked like two goals might be enough, Pittsburgh began a slow-but-steady climb toward a 4-2 win.
Chayla Edwards struck first for the Penguins Elite, slicing through the Lady Ducks on a brilliant solo effort to pull Pittsburgh within one goal late in the second period. The Lady Ducks clung to that margin until midway through the third, when Pittsburgh’s Lacey Eden found Kaitlyn O’Donohoe, who scored on the power play to forge a tie. Slightly more than a minute later, O’Donohoe won a puck battle below the goal line, cruised behind the net and returned the favor, passing to Eden, who scored the eventual game-winner.
“We got off to a slow start, but when you’re in that situation, I think it’s most important to pick up your teammates and get ‘em going,” said O’Donohoe. “We have enough talent and skill and coaching on our team that those moments won’t really bother us. We know we’ve just got to keep playing our game and we’ll break through.
“Once we put that tying goal in on the power play, we just knew something else was coming.”
That something else was Eden’s quick strike, followed by an empty-net goal from Lauren Bernard to complete the comeback for Pittsburgh.
“Between periods, the coaches said we had a lot of possession, but the game of hockey is scoring, so they told us to shoot and go to the net,” said O’Donohoe. “We were just trying to find a way, which comes down to passion and desire.”
St. Louis Lady Blues (Missouri) 3, Detroit Little Caesars (Michigan) 4 -- Generally a penalty in overtime is a death knell for the shorthanded team, but thanks to Little Caesars forward Rayla Clemons, it spelled doom for St. Louis instead. Clemons scored on the penalty kill a mere 45 seconds into the extra session to secure a 4-3 triumph for Little Caesars, which received two-point games from Courtney Hall, Kristen Simms and Riley Brengman.
Team North Dakota 1, Chicago Mission 8 -- Chicago Mission struck pay dirt on the power play three times in an 8-1 tournament-opening win over Team North Dakota. Chicago's Abbey Murphy (3G, 1A) notched a four-point game and Madeline Babnik added a hat trick in the win.
Washington Pride (Maryland) 0, Mid-Fairfield Stars (Connecticut) 11 -- Mid-Fairfield limited Washington to 10 shots on goal and Jessica Schryver (3G, 2A) posted a five-point game in the Stars' tournament-opening victory.