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16U Girls: Bring Home Silver at USA Hockey National Championships

05/07/2021, 12:00pm EDT
By wb

Denver CO -  The Philadelphia Little Flyers Girls 16U team finished an unbelievable season by taking home Silver at the 2021 Chipotle USA Hockey National Championships this past week. 

The Little Flyers opened round robin play against the Idaho Lady Vipers on Thursday.  The teams battled to a scoreless first period with the Lady Vipers out shooting the Little Flyers 7-4.  Idaho opened the scoring with goals by Maeve O’Connell and Irelyn McKernan just a minute a part to put the Little Flyers down 2-0.  Early in the third period, Victoria Hayes cut into the Lady Vipers lead, putting the Little Flyers on the scoreboard with an assist from Morgan Daly.  Philadelphia pressured Iadho the entire third period, outshooting the Vipers 12-6 but couldn’t find the equalizer.  Idaho added an empty net goal with under a minute left to win the game 3-1.  Sydney Babin made 18 saves in net for the Little Flyers.

The Little Flyers knew they needed to bounce back strong in their second round robin game against the Anchorage North Stars.  The North Stars took a 1-0 lead in the first period with an even strength goal.  That would be the only sign of life the Little Flyers would give Anchorage for the rest of the game as Annie Dignazio, Victoria Hayes and Kaila Booth took the game over offensively in the second period.  Dignazio tied the game at 15:12 of the second period, taking a feed from Katherine Smiley to score her first goal of the National Tournament.  Less than two minutes later, Hayes gave the Little Flyers their first lead of the day with helpers from Booth and Bonnie Mundy.  Hayes notched her second goal of the game in the third period with Booth once again supplying the help.  At the other end of the ice, Lea Grassia and the Little Flyers defense held the North Stars to 11 total shots on goal for the game.  Kaila Booth iced the game with an empty net goal late in the first period to secure the Little Flyers 4-1 win.

In the final game of round robin play, the Little Flyers had a chance to move on to the quarter final round with a win against the Tri-City Eagles.  Philadelphia came out like a team on a mission.  Jenna Calchi put the Little Flyers up 1-0 early in the first period, Booth collected her 3rd assist of the playoffs on the Calchi goal.  While shorthanded midway through the first period, Sophie Grant turned defense into offense as she doubled the Little Flyers lead to 2-0, Annie Dignazio and Kaytlen Kratzer assisted on the goal.  The offensive onslaught by the Little Flyers continued in the opening period as Kaila Booth found the back of the net on the power play with help from Victoria Hayes.  Katherine Smiley capped the Little Flyers first period with an even strength goal, Dignazio earned the assist on the play.  That was all of the offense the Little Flyers needed, Sydney Babin shut the Tri-City offense out with a 15 save shutout.  Much credit has to be given to the Little Flyers defense of Bonnie Mundy, Marina McCann, Kaytlen Kratzer, Morgan Daly, Katrina Conway and Rachel Clevens who limited the grade A scoring chances Babin faced.

Going 2-1 in round robin play earned the Little Flyers a spot in the quarterfinal round to keep the dream of a National Championship alive.  In the quarterfinals the Little Flyers faced off against a tough Anaheim Lady Ducks team.  The two teams felt each other out in the first period, with neither wanting to make a mistake and go down early in such an important game.  It took more than half the game for a goal to be put on the scoreboard, but when that time came it was Bonnie Mundy who put the Little Flyers up 1-0.  Once again it was a concentrated effort by the entire Little Flyers team defensively, holding the Lady Ducks scoreless.  Annie Dignazio sealed the Little Flyers win with an empty net goal with ten seconds remaining in the game.  Lea Grassia made 25 saves in the shutout victory.

Sunday evening, the Little Flyers played Team South Dakota for a spot in the Championship game.  It was everything you could ever want in a playoff game.  Lead changes, special teams, 64 shots on goal total and overtime was needed to get to the finals.  South Dakota’s Brooke Jarman put her team up 1-0 at 9:06 of the first period with an even strength goal.  Morgan Daly answered back for the Little Flyers five minutes later with an unassisted power play goal to tie the game heading into the second period.  Sophie Grant scored her second goal of the Championship tournament at 10:34 of the second, Bonnie Mundy and Victoria Hayes assisted on the goal.  Three minutes later, South Dakota knotted the game at 2-2.  This set up for an exciting back and forth 3rd period.  In the third, Sydney Babin came up huge, as South Dakota put the pressure on outshooting the Little Flyers 10-6.  Key defensive plays by Morgan Daly on a two-on-one and Avari Hahn, back checking on a breakaway helped Babin keep South Dakota off the board late in the game.  The two teams headed to overtime deadlocked at 2-2.  In the extra period it would be Charlotte Labre who sent the Philadelphia faithful home happy as she took a feed from Annie Dignazio in the slot and fired the puck into the back of the South Dakota net to send the Little Flyers into a frenzy as they were heading to the National Championship.

After an exciting hard fought semi-final game, the Little Flyers were back at it the next morning, playing for a National Championship in front of a packed house.  In the Championship game, the Little Flyers faced off against the host team for the Championships, Rocky Mountain Lady Roughriders.  Kaia Carlson and the Roughriders jumped out to an early 1-0 lead six minutes into the game.  Later in the period, the Little Flyers found themselves shorthanded with the Roughriders looking to add to their lead, but it was Sophie Grant once again turning defense into offense and tying the game at 1-1 with a shorthanded tally, Annie Dignazio assisted on the Grant goal.  Just past the hallway point of the second period, Kaila Booth gave the Little Flyers their first lead of the day scoring a power play goal with a helper coming from Dignazio.  Rocky Mountain tied the game back up at 2-2 three minutes later and we were heading towards familiar territory starting the third period tied.  The third period would be a scoreless one with both teams looking for the go ahead goal but as time expired in the third we found ourselves still tied at two.  In the overtime period, it would be Emma Compton and the home team taking home the gold on Compton’s game winning goal at the 5:13 mark of overtime.

The Little Flyers 16U girls took home silver medals, finishing 2nd at USA Hockey National Championships, the highest placed finish for a Little Flyers girls team in program history.  Congratulations to all of our players, coaches, staff, parents, family and friends on a great season. 

2020-21 Philadelphia Little Flyers 16U
 

#28

KATHERINE SMILEY

#8

BONNIE MUNDY

#36

MARINA MCCANN

#90

CHARLOTTE LABRE

#61

KAYTLEN KRATZER

#92

VICTORIA HAYES

#18

AVARI HAHN

#11

LEA GRASSIA

#55

SOPHIE GRANT

#22

ANNIE DIGNAZIO

#4

MORGAN DALY

#14

GEORGIA CRONIN

#13

KATRINA CONWAY

#2

RACHEL CLEVENS

#9

JENNA CALCHI

#5

KAILA BOOTH

#29

SYDNEY BABIN

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