East Coast Wizard center, Grace Crowley jumped a on a loose puck at the Selects blue line and went in alone deking her way to a game winning goal with just 2:57 remaining to break a 1-1 tie and end Wisconsin’s bid for their first National Champioship. Minutes later with the Selects net empty Wizard’s goalie Elizabeth Sullivan would rob Sami Federici from in close and time would run out on the championship quest. Playing their sixth game in five days, at the Tier II Nationals in Philadelphia, Wisconsin outshot the Wizards 25-19, but couldn’t get that elusive second goal.
“We battled really hard, played a good game, but just couldn’t get the puck to bounce our way,” offered Head Coach Emily Bauer.
The clash of the undefeated Selects and East Coast Wizards took place on Monday. Prior to the game Wisconsin received good news when defenseman Emily Bill returned to the line-up after missing a game with a dislocated knee cap. The teams traded powerplay opportunities in the opening period. Wisconsin’s Dru Sabatke made a diving play midway through the first to prevent a potential Wizard’s breakaway and Emma-Lyn Stephenson had a pair of quality scoring chances, including one that appeared to be prevented by a hooking penalty that wasn’t called. The Wizards had six shots in the first period, but only one shot 5 on 5. The Selects had eight shots in the scoreless period.
An East Coast penalty carried over into the second period when Tristan Wicklund would convert a pretty backdoor pass from Hannah Baumann into a powerplay goal and a 1-0 lead. The Selects had a pair of good chances to add to their lead. Shannon Dwyer cut to the middle and got an open shot and Eileen Carey couldn’t convert a backdoor rebound at the nine-minute mark. With Eileen Carey off for roughing the Wizards won a face-off back to Jenna Lynch and her shot was redirected by Zoe Tow to tie the game. It was the first and only powerplay goal allowed by the Selects in the tournament. Late in the period Selects goalie Chloe Lemke made a big backdoor save to keep the game tied. Wisconsin out shot the Wizards 10-7 for the period.
Wisconsin had two powerplay opportunities in the third period. Federici had good scoring chance but Sullivan had the answer and Stephenson appeared to fire over the net on a powerplay chance. A pair of matching minor penalties set up the final goal. “I am really proud of the team,” Bauer added. “I really feel we out played them today and overall had a great tournament. It is just disappointing we didn’t get the result we feel we deserved.” The Selects finished the season with a 29-6 overall record.
Lemke finished as the tournament’s top goaltender allowing just three goals on 80 shots over four games including two shutouts. Ellla Sciborski allowed two goals on 41 shots including a shutout of her own. Federici led the team in scoring with six goals and a pair of assists, while linemates Gab du Vair had two goals and four assists and Hannah Baumann a goal and four assists.
The team consists of high school girls who played for their respective high school teams during the winter season. Team members include: Hannah Baumann, Logan Crawford, Gabrielle DuVair, Samantha Federici, Chloe Leme, Dru Sabatke, and Tristan Wicklund from the Central Wisconsin Storm; Emma Lyn Stephenson and Ashley Slupe from the Chippewa Falls Co-op: Kennedy and Addison Gruhlke from the Eau Claire Stars, Ella Spies and Allison Waara from the Fond du Lac Warbirds; Emily Bill and Ella Chilson from the Bay Area Ice Bears; Lexie Hagen from the Black River Falls co-op; Jamie Steinmetz from the Madison Metro Lynx; Ella Sciborski from the Fox Cites Stars; Eileen Carey from University School Co-op and Shannon Dwyer from Arrowhead. The team also included Hannah Wilson (Fond du Lac) and All-State Defenseman Jaden Hammes (Onalaska). Both played during the fall portion of the season but volunteered to give up their roster spots because of WAHA age restraints.
The Selects General Manager is Mike Cowan, the coaching staff includes Emily Bauer along with Steve Kirley and Greg Slupe. Nick Stephenson is the team manager. Tryouts for next year’s team will be held in June at both Chippewa Falls and Beaver Dam.