Team USA forward Abbey Murphy scored twice for Chicago Mission today.
After two days at USA Hockey’s Girls Tier I 16U Nationals, the USA Pool has been especially intriguing. Two of the three lowest seeds in the pool have a win, including the tournament’s bottom seed, Team North Dakota, which topped the eighth-seeded Boston Junior Eagles 2-1 in a shootout on Friday. Those same Junior Eagles defeated the Dallas Stars Elite yesterday, and Dallas plays Team North Dakota tomorrow with a chance to leave all three teams deadlocked if Dallas wins and the Junior Eagles lose to undefeated and top-seeded Chicago Mission tomorrow.
However likely that seems, with Mission having sliced convincingly through its opponents thus far, Chicago forward Abbey Murphy won’t be taking anyone lightly. This is her third trip to Nationals and she’s yet to win the title. Those near-misses taught her that no victory can be taken for granted.
“Everyone comes out here for their Stanley Cup playing us, so we’ve just got to play every single team as hard as we can,” said Murphy. “You never know what’s going to happen.”
Already a gold medalist with the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team, Murphy scored twice today in limited duty during a 7-2 Mission win over Dallas.
“The competitiveness is a little bit higher at the Under-18 World Championships, but going from there to here, I try to keep the same tempo,” said Murphy. “But everyone’s big and everyone’s going to play hard and go at you fast, so you’ve got to be ready.”
Mission jumped to a 3-0 lead Friday before Dallas answered with a second-period goal from Audrey Shirer. Mission then reeled off three more second-period goals to put the game out of reach and allow Erin Rourke to rest her top liners.
“I don’t get mad or anything, but it is different sitting on the bench,” said Murphy. “It’s hard to watch and not play.”
But the 15-year-old South Sider understands that the real prize isn’t a pool play victory, so she took the extra rest in stride. She has a birthday coming next week and there’s only one present in her mind.
“Hopefully I can bring back a championship,” she said. “That’s all I want.”