Emily Bouvier from Shelton helped the Shoreline Sharks U16 Black (AA) team win the USA Girls Ice Hockey 2018 Tier II National Championships at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough (Mass.) on April 9.
The Sharks team went undefeated in national play, beating teams from New York, New Jersey, South Dakota, Michigan, Alaska and Vermont, and outscoring the competition 21-3., defeating the Vermont Shamrocks 1-0 in the final
The 1-0 win in the championship game against the Vermont Shamrocks was even sweeter, as it avenged the Sharks 4-2 loss in regional play a few weeks earlier to the same Shamrocks — the Sharks only loss in the entire 2018 tournament run (state, regionals, and nationals).
The Sharks strategy of controlling the championship game with aggressive forechecking, sound defensive hockey, and quick transitions from defense to offense paid off. The game was tense and scoreless until the Connecticut girls rallied with eight minutes left in the third period, and then played solid defensive hockey to emerge with the 1-0 win.
“This team never quits or backs down from a challenge. Losing to the Shamrocks in the regional finals served as major motivation for this highly competitive group of girls,” said coach Ed Rodham. “Our strength in goaltending, strong defense, and an offense that capitalizes on opponent mistakes served us well. The girls were focused and executed our game plan flawlessly, and it paid off with the championship title.”
This is the second year in a row a Shoreline Sharks team has earned a USA Hockey National Championship title. In 2017, nine members from this year’s U16 team clinched the same title in the U14 division, compiling an impressive two-year record: 25-1-4 in state, regional and national tournament play and 12-0 in national-only play.
“We brought on seven new players to the team this year, who complimented the team dynamic on and off the ice. Their chemistry is unparalleled; they play like they’ve skated together their entire lives,” Rodham said. “Their 2017-2018 record (32-9-3) speaks for itself. “I speak for my co-coaches, Karlyn Donovan and Rachel Farrel, in saying that we were honored to lead this team and take part in this incredible journey. They’re a great group of players who would go through a wall for each other. This season, ending with the championship title, created a chest full of memories that will last a lifetime.”
The core of the team will continue to play for the Shoreline Sharks in the 2018-2019 season as a national tournament-bound team with a modified schedule that accommodates the high school season. Seven of these Sharks recently announced commitments to attend and play hockey at some of the top preparatory schools in the country, including The Gunnery, Loomis Chaffee, Pomfret, Northwood, Westminster, and Williston Northhampton.