ROCHESTER, MI — Back-to-back champs! The Shattuck-St. Mary’s girls prep hockey team overcame adversity, an early deficit, and a fierce rival to claim their second consecutive USA Hockey National Girls Tier 1 19U championship on Monday, April 10, defeating the Chicago Mission 3-1.
Following a tight 1-0 victory over the Mid Fairfield CT Stars in the semifinals, the Sabres entered the championship game without leading scorer Maureen Murphy ’17, who had to sit out of the title game tilt after taking a game misconduct penalty in the semis. But the Sabres would not be denied, as a stellar defensive performance and two goals from Brette Pettet ’17 pushed SSM to the repeat title, and seventh overall since 2005.
Adversity struck early for the Sabres on Monday, as the Mission’s Hannah Alt put Chicago up 1-0 near the midway point of the first period. The Sabres tightened up defensively from there, and senior Becca Foggia’s goal at the 9:50 mark of the second period
Fittingly, it would be Pettet, who scored the tying and game-winning goals for the U16 team as an eighth-grader, who helped push the Sabres over the top again. She found the net on a wrist shot in the second period to pull SSM ahead 2-1 and added a power play goal in the third to cap an incredible hockey career as a Sabre with another title.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling,” Pettet said. “You carry memories from each year, but your last year is always the most memorable and it’s really exciting to finish my career in this way.”
Goaltender Aerin Frankel ‘17 and the SSM defense made sure the goals stood up, capping a dominant tournament that saw the Sabres concede just two goals in regulation. Frankel followed up her shutout in the semifinal by stopping 24 of 25 shots in the championship.
“We practice hard all year in every aspect of the game, but in this case it was the defensive aspect that we needed and it came through,” Stafford said.
The championship victory capped an impressive run for 12 Sabres seniors, including six who won four U16 and U19 titles during their SSM careers.
“It’s been a special group,” Pettet said. “We have really bonded together through the years, and it’s special to be able to cherish this moment.”
Through their work ethic, effort, and success both on and off of the ice, this group of seniors has left a legacy that they believe will carry on to next year’s squad.
“What I will always remember and miss most about this group is how close-knit we are, and the competitive nature that we have brought as players,” Frankel said. “We constantly push each other to be better and settle for nothing less than perfection, and I think that the hard work of this class will have a snowball effect on our younger girls.”