Both the Potsdam Ice Storm 16U and St. Lawrence Thunder 14U girls hockey teams and the St. Lawrence Thunder Bantam Boys moved two wins away from playing for a USA Hockey Tier II National Championship after advancing past their respective opening rounds on Friday.
Competing in San Jose, California, the two girls teams closed out their preliminary rounds with hard-fought wins while the Thunder Bantams still claimed the top seed in their division at the 14U championship tournament near Charlotte, North Carolina, despite suffering their first loss in double overtime.
All three teams will keep continue chasing national titles with quarter-final round games later today.
Ice Storm 3, Grand Rapids 1: The Ice Storm built a 2-0 lead in the first period before going on to hold off the Griffins and clinch the top seed from the American Division for todays quarter-final round.
The Ice Storm opened the scoring just 3:09 into their final preliminary round game when Bailey Dillabough connected off an assist from Jenny Tardelli. Kalie Grant then struck for an unassisted goal at the 13:02 mark and that would stand as the game-winner.
The Griffins pulled to within one with 1:20 left in the middle frame on a goal by Halle Hayes but Grant restored the two-goal lead when she finished off a play set up by Kirstin Barkley and Natalie Giglio with 5:21 left in regulation.
Maddi Dillabough stopped 21 shots working the crease for the win while Dawn Salo logged 21 saves in the loss as the Griffins still advanced to the quarter-finals despite slipping to 1-2 in the tournament.
Coached by Mike Grant, the Ice Storm will now get set to take on the fourth-seed from the National Division in the quarter-finals today starting at 1:45 p.m. EDT. The winner of that game advances to a semi-final round matchup at 10:45 p.m. EDT. The Tier II 16U National Championship Game is scheduled for Sunday at 5:30 p.m. EDT.
Thunder Girls 5, Nashua Panthers 0: At the Tier II 14U tournament, the Thunder completed a full recovery from an opening-game loss by skating to their second straight shutout victory to clinch the second seed out of the American Division.
Coached by Renee Young, the locals will now get set to face the Connecticut Ice Cats, who finished as the third seed from the National Division, in the quarter-finals slated for this morning at 10 a.m. EDT. The winner of that game is slated to play the second semi-final, which is scheduled to face-off at 12:45 a.m. EDT.
In posting their second consecutive shutout win against the New Hampshire state champions on Friday, the Thunder got the only goal they would need with just 12 seconds left in the opening period when Katie MacCuaig finished off a play set up by Jayden Young.
Kaitlin Irvine made it 2-0 at the 5:31 mark of the second period assisted by Kerrigan Rondeau and Jordan Emerson, who quickly pushed the lead to three goals when she connected for an unassisted tally just 50 seconds later.
Irvines second of the game put the Thunder ahead 4-0 at 9:08 of the third period with the assist going to Abbie Paquin. MacCuaig closed out the scoring just over two minutes later assisted by Young and Paquin.
Sidney Molnar turned aside the 23 shots she faced to earn her second straight shutout while Jasmine Mucci posted 32 saves as the Panthers still advanced to the quarter-finals despite the loss, finishing as the third seed in the division.
The Thunder finished second in the division standings to the East Coast Wizards of Massachusetts. The Tier II 14U Girls National Championship Game is scheduled for Sunday at 3:15 p.m. EDT.
THUNDER BANTAMS FALL IN OT
At the Tier II 14U nationals, the Thunder Bantam Boys managed to clinch the top seed from the NHL Division despite falling to the Denver University Junior Pioneers 3-2 in double overtime in the final game of the preliminary round for both squads.
With the overtime loss, the Thunder still earned a point to finish with seven atop the division standings and will now get set to take on the Red Bank Generals of New Jersey in the quarter-final round today at 2 p.m. The Generals advanced as the second seed from the Olympic Division. The winner of this afternoons game earns a bid to the 8 p.m. semi-final. The National Championship Game is slated for Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
The Thunder got off to a slow start in their loss to the Pioneers, who clinched the second seed from the division with the win, falling behind 2-0 by the first intermission before battling back to force overtime with solo goals in the second and third periods.
Goals by Jacob Adkins just 4:49 into the game and Aidan Kirkey three minutes later gave Denver the early lead but more outstanding special teams play keyed a Thunder comeback as Shane Cryderman cut the deficit to 2-1 when he notched an unassisted power play goal with 2:54 left in the second period and Kaden Pickering finished off a play set up by Jordan Robert for a shorthanded goal with 6:52 left in regulation.
Noah Kormanyos had 22 saves working the Thunder crease while Christian Palumbo turned aside 32 shots backstopping the win.
The Thunder, who advanced to the national final last spring before settling for the silver medal, are coached by Bobby Smith.