Head coach Gordie Stafford calls it “sympathetic joy,” when players are genuinely happy for their teammates’ success, and his top-seeded Shattuck-St. Mary’s 19U squad had plenty of opportunity to display it Thursday. Five Sabres scored and 10 registered at least one point in a 6-2 win over Team Colorado.
U.S. Under-18 Women's National Team gold medalist Hannah Bilka led the way for Shattuck, scoring a mere 48 seconds into the game. After McKenzie Hauswirth extend the Sabres’ lead at 5:21, Bilka added her second goal midway through the first period, a tally that proved to be the game-winner.
“The first game of the tournament is always difficult,” said Stafford. “We’re the one seed and they’re the 16 seed, so there’s a disparity there, and I think players go into that and think, ‘OK, here we go, I’m going to be able to score a lot,’ and it kind of takes you away from your game. But I liked our cohesiveness, I liked the way we hustled and I liked the way we supported each other on the bench – all those good team things that are going to bode well as we get into the week.”
Team Colorado’s Peyton Anderson interrupted the Shattuck scoring surge late in the first period with the first of her two goals, but the Sabres scored twice in the second and once in the third for their final margin. Taylor Huynh stopped 35 shots for Team Colorado, while her Shattuck counterpart, Eliana Ray, made 11 saves for the three-time defending Tier I 19U national champions.
“We say it all year – it’s not who you’re playing against, it’s who you’re playing with,” said Stafford. “The great players are the ones that not only play to win, which we do, but they play every game to get better. So we just want to play to get better.
"You know it’s going to come down to a game that we need to win, and if your habits are good, then you’ll revert to those good habits and that’s going to help you win.”
New Jersey Colonials 2, Belle Tire (Michigan) 3 -- Seven players registered a point for Belle Tire in a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Colonials. Elana Zingas scored what stood as the game-winner at 6:35 of the third period, but New Jersey's Alexandra Detre made it a tense final 10 minutes with her first goal and second point of the day two minutes later. Colonials goaltender Annika Asplundh was busy in goal, stopping 44 of Belle Tire's 47 shots.
Washington Pride (Maryland) 3, East Coast Wizards (Massachusetts) 1 -- In one of the day's more surprising outcomes, the Washington Pride used a pair of power-play goals and 34 saves from goaltender Hannah Humphreys to topple the host East Coast Wizards 3-1. Kayelynn Heflin, Mollie Dalbey and Allison Curry scored goals for the Pride.
Massachusetts Spitfires forward Marielle McHale, No. 8, clears a rebound against the Niagara Junior Purple Eagles. Massachusetts won 2-1 in a shootout.