The U14 Girls Philadelphia Little Flyers made their tournament debut this past weekend in Rochester New York at the Bauer Fire on Ice Tournament. According to the tournament organizers there were over 100 teams participating making this the largest girls’ hockey tournament in the country.
The Little Flyers girls first game against the Carolina Lady Eagles was Friday morning. The game was a scoreless nail biter for the first two periods. Both Teams traded shots back and forth until Philadelphia Little Flyers forward Sophie Grant pushed a loose puck to Gianna Pacilio at center ice. Gianna used a bit of fancy skating to turn the puck into a break away goal. The pressure was on for the Lady Eagles and they responded a few minutes later when they took advantage of an inadvertent turn over in the Little Flyers’ zone. The Lady Eagles found the only way to best Little Flyers Goalie Lea Grassia stunning performance in net was to get her moving with three passes and tied the game. The game remained tie at 1 goal a piece for the rest of regulation play. The OT format of 3 alternating penalty shots per team was needed to decide the winner. Little Flyers Avari Hahn was the first shooter but just missed. Kaila Booth was the Little Flyers second shooter and scored on an incredible back hand top shelf shot after drawing the goalie to the right. Gianna Pacilio was the Little Flyers third shooter but couldn’t get it through the 5 hole. Little Flyers Lea Grassia swallowed up all three of the Lady Eagles shots to ensure the win.
The girls next game was Friday night against the Norfolk Potsdam Storm. This game was a real test for the girls and they fell behind 2-0 early in the first period. Little Flyers defense lead by Rachel Clevens, Morgan Daly, Avari Hahn, and Roaslie Midget tightened up their play to stop the scoring chances until the third period. Fatigue may have played a factor but the Storm put 4 shots in net in the 3rd period for a final score of 6-0.
The third game was Saturday morning against the New Jersey Rockets. This game proved to be the most frustrating for the Little Flyer girls. Despite dominating play by forwards Jenna Calchi, Georgia Cronin, Katie Smiley, Moira Combs, and McKayla Peters the girls were only able to get 1 puck past the Rockets goalie when Sophia Grant connected a one timer on a pass from Kaila Booth. Bonnie Mundy proved her versatility to the Little Flyers by moving to defense from wing for Saturdays games. Unfortunately the addition of her strong defensive play was not enough to keep the Rockets from scoring 2.
The girls fourth and final game was Saturday afternoon against Saddlebrook. Parents were popping blood pressure pills like chiclets as the game remained scoreless until deep in the third when a rebound off of a Grassia save found its way to a Saddlebrook winger who knocked it in. The Little Flyers girls showed superhuman heart as the fought for opportunity after opportunity but couldn’t get one in.
The quality of the girls play was not evident in their Tournament record of 1 and 3. They came together as a Team through the gut wrenching games and will definitely be a force to be reckoned with this season. The girls Little Flyers take to the ice next at 4 pm on November 18th against their name rival Junior Flyers in West Chester.