It’s a 3-Peat for the Purple Eagles.
The NU Purple Eagles 19U girls hockey team posted a spotless 4-0 record as the claimed their third straight New York State Tier 1 title in a tournament that was held at the Northtowns Center this past weekend.
The victory lifts the Purple Eagles into the National tournament that will take place in Detroit April 6-10.
“This team is an exceptionally young team,” said head coach Scott Welch. “We only have three senior skaters and one senior goalie and we have a 20 player roster. Sixteen of the players come back next year. This is exciting to be at. Certainly our expectations was to win states and do well at Nationals this year, but next year with this core of players coming back we should be in a really good spot..”
The team, which is comprised of girls from various parts of the state, is rich with talent from the Nichols School girls’ Prep A team. Including Katy Knoll, Ciara Barone, Audrey Lazar, Rachel Urbank, Katie Martinez, Allison Attea, Taylor Pietrowski, Maddi Moell, Abby Charvot, Courtney Staniszewski, and goalie Jada Brenon, who was named the MVP of Nichols Girls’ Prep A team.
“With so many younger players on our team this year, many have never felt the satisfaction of winning a state championship. There’s just something special about it. You remember that type of thing forever,” Jada Brenon said.
“It’s what every team works toward throughout the whole season, and accomplishing it for three years in a row now is a bitter sweet way for our seniors to go out on top. Having the opportunity to represent New York State at the USA Hockey nationals among the top teams in the nation is a humbling accomplishment, and we are looking forward to maintaining the prestige that has been associated with our program over the years.”
Going 3-0 in the round robin qualifying portion of the tournament. The Purple Eagles beat Northwood, 3-2, the Buffalo Bisons 2-1 and Syracuse 5-3. They would defeat the Bisons 4-0 to claim the NYS Tier 1 title and another trip to Nationals.
The National tournament features 12 teams split into two divisions of six competing in the opening round for the right to go onto the championship round.
Last year NU went 2-1 in pool play, but lost out on their chance to advance because of a goal differential tie breaker between all of the teams that went 2-1.
“I think it started with the tears in the locker room last year (at Nationals) out in Minnesota,” Welch said.
“Losing at the Nationals last year, kids were crying and upset and we kinda talked about that now it was our mission to get back here again. We’ve had a count down. From tryouts on we’ve been counting down from our first practice. We had 220 days to be the best team in the state. We had a count down to get to Nationals so the kids, that has been in their mind. To get to Nationals.”
Though the competition at Nationals will obviously be stiffer, being able to post 14 goals in four games is an encouraging sign for the Purple Eagles as it showed that team work was first and foremost in all their minds. The kind of team work they will need if they hope to see it through when they get to Nationals.
“Having the round robin games be so close only made us work harder as a group,” Brenon said.
“We knew individual play would not get us to the next level. Everyone contributed in one way or another to the overall outcome of the weekend and we trusted that whatever we were told to do was for the betterment of the team.”