March 2008

Arizona Lady Coyotes use seven OTs to claim Rocky Mountain District 14-Under title

By Steve Heath

Special to USAHockey.com

Everything worthwhile is worth waiting for.

No one knows that better than the VOSHA (Valley Of The Sun Hockey Association) Lady Coyotes.

In the double-elimination Rocky Mountain District 14-Under Tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz., the Lady Coyotes, from Arizona, had to wait ... and wait … and wait some more before eliminating Colorado Select.

Katie McGovern scored all three of the Lady Coyotes’ goals, the last coming at 1:53 of the second overtime, to give her team a 3-2 win over Colorado March 9 at Alltel Ice Den to give Arizona its first-ever team in the girls’ national tournament. Nationals are set for April 2-6 in West Chester, Pa.

“It felt good,” said McGovern of the game-winner. “Our defenseman, Alex Barone-Jay shot, it rebounded and I hit it in. I was excited. We all threw up our gloves.”

McGovern scored two second-period goals to negate Colorado’s 2-0 lead.

Hali Alkire-Carter and Rachel Bellio — from a Chloe Williams assist — scored first-period goals to give Colorado Select a 2-0 lead.

McGovern scored unassisted at 9:28 to cut the margin in half, then, from a Cheyenne Boyd assist, tied the game at the 7:14 mark.

The previous day, it took the Lady Coyotes a fifth overtime to turn away their Colorado nemesis.

MaKenna Newkirk, in the 89th minute of play and at the 6:44 mark of the period, scored on a power-play goal with a bulls-eyed slap shot from the point and into the upper right corner of the net for a 4-3 marathon victory. Andi Husted was credited with the assist.

Boyd had a pair of goals and an assist. Newkirk had an earlier assist, while Samantha Reno had a goal and an assist.

Goalie Gabby Abbott had 48 saves, 21 in the overtimes in Friday’s win. She followed up with 36 stops, 14 in the extra sessions in the finale.

“There was pressure and I noticed it more in the overtime, but there was pressure on everyone,” Abbott said. “It’s really exciting. I’m ecstatic (about going to nationals).”

While it’s the first trip to the national tournament for an Arizona girls’ team, it’s not a first-time trip for its coach.

Gayle Shalloo, in her first year with the Lady Coyotes, won a national title as a player in 1999 with the Connecticut Polar Bears and later played collegiately at Providence.

“I don’t think it’s sunk in to the players and parents. It’s an awakening to play AAA hockey in the national tournament,” Shalloo said. “The national tournament is a whole another experience in hockey. You can play in a lot of big tournaments, but a national is another tournament.”

“I’ve just reiterated our goal,” she added. “We’re going to the tournament and try and come home with a win.”

The wins were the first ever against Colorado, which had eliminated Arizona in each of its previous appearances in the district tournament.

 Story courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.