Our girls are just back from the latest NGHL showcase tournament where they played 4 games against evenly matched opponents. On Friday night they took to the ice against the Naperville Sabres. In what could only be described as the most frustrating game of the weekend our girls dominated the Sabres for the majority of the first period, but they could not get the puck in the net. In the second period the Sabres took advantage of three skillfully set up screens that net minder Lea Grassia didn’t stand a chance of saving to end the second with a 3-0 lead. The third period was more of the Little Flyers controlling most of the period in virtually in every statistic but one. Unfortunately, that statistic was the number of goals and the final score was 4-0 Sabres.
The girls needed to shake off the frustrating loss as they went into the first of two Saturday games. The first was against the Girls Junior Hurricanes. At the start of the game the girls started with high energy and controlled the pace of play. The Hurricanes goalie kept our girl’s off the scoreboard for the majority of the first period until Kaila Booth got a pass from Avari Hahn to break the ice and provided what turned out to be the winning goal thanks to strong defensive play from Katrina Conway, Rachel Clevens, Morgan Daly, Bonnie Mundy, and Sydney Babin in net. Additional scoring occurred still in the first period when Avari Hahn got the puck to Sophia Grant for the second goal of the game. The scoring run continued into the second period as Bonnie Mundy and Georgia Cronin each scored unassisted. The final goal of the game came in the second period when Victoria Hayes put a pass from Rachel Clevens into the net for a final score of 5-0 Little Flyers.
With their record now 1-1 our girls headed into the second Saturday game against the strongest team in the bracket, the Girls 14u Tier 1 AAA Hurricanes. This game was a must win for our girls if they wanted to stay in consideration for the Gold medal game. From the first puck dropped our girls matched up well with the Hurricanes. The score remained tied at 0 until halfway through the 3rd period when Georgia Cronin saw Victoria Hayes move into the slot and hit her with a pass. Hayes beat the Hurricanes goalie to take a 1-0 lead with 7:44 left to play. Sydney Babin continued to keep the puck out of our net as the high spirited play that makes the referees earn their pay continued. When the final buzzer sounded the score was 1-0 Little Flyers.
The girls finished bracket play in a three-way tie for 1st place. Unfortunately, it took the tournament director to move to the second tie breaker of Goal Against average to determine our fate. This brought back the frustrations of the Naperville game in which we let up too many goals and were relegated to the Bronze medal game against the Girls Junior Hurricanes on Sunday.
As the puck dropped on Sunday it appeared that our girls were a little distracted and their play reflected that as they failed to take solid control of the game in the first period. Coach Jordan was able to refocus the girls and their played started to dominate the game. It took 4 minutes of second period for Charlotte Labre on a pass from Jenna Calchi to get the game’s first goal. Then 10 minutes later Katrina Conway scored on a pass from Sophia Grant to finish the 2nd period up 2-0. As the 3rd period started Marina McCann scored twice on the same shift to move the score to 4-0. The first goal McCann skated the puck into the offensive zone through 3 defenders and let loose with a beautiful bar down shot. Then 37 seconds later McCann got a pass from Katrina Conway and put some addition icing on the scoreboard. The girls kept the pressure on the Hurricanes and Sophia Grant scored on a pass from Bonnie Mundy to make the score 5-0 and moved the game to a running clock. Our girls seemed to like the feeling of scoring under pressure and let loose a bevy of offense. To their credit the Hurricanes were not letting up and manage to score a goal on a shot that Lea Grassia would love to have another chance to bring the final score to 5-1 Little Flyers and a third place and a third place overall in the tournament bracket.
After the game Coach Jordan commented, “All in all , a good weekend by the girls…We made some very good progress… as a team but certainly there are some areas we can improve on this week…while its fresh in our minds”.
It seems clear our girls have an extra pep in their step this season. When asked what is different this year, Kaila Booth responded, “I don’t know…the team is just different this year…we seem to just all get along better. I mean we are teenage girls so there is always going to be some kinda beef going on, but it doesn’t seem to carry into the locker room. Maybe we are just happy to finally get out of the house”.
Call it Covid, call it 2020, call it virtual school, call it maturity, or call it “friendly” reminders from coaches to be aggressive on the ice but for whatever reason the girls are showing more team focus and offense this year. Let’s hope they can keep the off-ice distractions at bay and the offensive momentum going as they prepare for take on the cross-town rivals this week. Good Luck Girls!