KEEPER VAL MURRAY, along with Karin Lovering (center) and Sue Trotta do their best to keep the puck away from the She-Wolf net on Friday night. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
March 24, 2014WOLFEBORO — While much of the country was turning its focus to the NCAA tournament, there was another tournament hitting the ice in Wolfeboro.
For the 16th year, the Wolfeboro She-Wolves welcomed women's hockey teams to town for a weekend full of tournament action.
The three-day tournament featured 10 teams divided among three different divisions, named after the three most recent hosts of the Winter Olympics, Turin, Vancouver and Sochi.
This year's tournament featured three new teams, with Murphy's coming over from Maine, the Laconia Leafs journeying across Lake Winnipesaukee and the Green Mountain Thunder making the trek from Vermont.
Returning to the tournament were the Westchester Wildcats, Concord Nor'Easters, Maine Breakaways, Great Bay Riptides, Maine Cooncats and the Wild Women (Conway).
The She-Wolves shared a division with the Wild Women and Cooncats and the tournament kicked off with the hosts taking on the Wild Women on Friday evening.
Karin Lovering and Amie Cloos got the She-Wolves started offensively from their defensive positions, while Val Murray held strong between the pipes for the She-Wolves, turning away a couple of Wild Women bids.
Karin Nelson had a shot go wide and Lisa Tarter, Maria Found and Sue Trotta had good pressure in the offensive zone for the She-Wolves.
The Wild Women came back with some strong pressure in their offensive zone, but Murray held strong and the defense helped her out, with Marcia Eldredge strong at the blue line. Carlene Stewart and Found made more offensive charges, but the period drew to a close with the game still scoreless.
Found and Stewart had strong offensive attacks in the opening minutes of the second period and Trotta and Eldredge turned in good defensive plays, but it was the Wild Women getting on the board first, as they scored with 9:21 to go in the period to take a 1-0 lead.
Maria Hendrickson and Stewart continued the offensive attack for the She-Wolves, while Hannah Croteau had a pair of shots denied by the Wild Women keeper.
The She-Wolves were able to knot the score with just 34 seconds to go in the period, as Stewart sent the puck in on net and following a scrum in front of the net, Nelson was able to punch it home for the tying goal.
Murray made a nice save to close out the period and the teams went to the third tied at one.
Found ripped home a shot top shelf just 1:10 into the third period to give the She-Wolves their first lead of the game and Murray held strong in the net, keeping the tying goal from getting across the line.
However, with 4:19 to go, the Wild Women were able to put the tying goal in net. The She-Wolves continued to pressure, with Tarter, Stewart and Found all getting good looks in the offensive zone. Hendrickson and Trotta got in close and Murray turned away a late bid to bring out the final whistle with the score tied at two.
The She-Wolves returned to the ice on Saturday morning, taking on the Maine Cooncats.
Stewart wasted little time attacking the goal, as she had a good bid right off the faceoff. Trotta also had a bid denied with a nice save. Keeper Emily Seigars stepped between the pipes and made a couple of saves and got some help from Lovering on the defensive side of the puck.
Trotta and Tarter got in close, but they were denied and Seigars made a nice save on a breakaway chance. Trotta drilled a shot off the post and Tarter had two bids denied as the period came to a close with no score.
The Cooncats got on the board just 36 seconds into the second period, firing a shot from the circle to take a 1-0 lead. Cloos just missed connection with Trotta for a scoring bid and Eldredge had a good look in the zone as well.
The She-Wolves took a penalty with 8:01 to go, but Croteau, Found and Lovering all did a nice job killing the penalty, with Croteau and Found actually getting shorthanded scoring bids.
Seigars continued to make the saves, but one of those saves got away and the rebound was poked home with 4:48 to go to give the Cooncats the 2-0 lead.
Tarter, Found and Stewart continued to push on offense, with Murray, Liz Bean and Lisa Dore getting in on the attack, while Stacey Richard did a nice job clearing a Cooncat attack out of the zone and the period came to a close with the She-Wolves trailing 2-0.
Stewart, Tarter and the She-Wolves opened the third period with good pressure, but another penalty with 8:51 put them down a player for a minute and a half. However, strong defense from Lovering and a Seigars save helped kill off the penalty. Trotta, Tarter and Lovering continued to attack in the offensive zone, but again the She-Wolves took a penalty with 3:23 to go. Eldredge, Tarter and Stewart had shorthanded bids to help kill off the penalty.
Seigars made a couple of saves in the final minutes to close out the game, but the offense couldn't get on the board and the Cooncats took the 2-0 win.
The same two teams returned to the Pop Whalen Arena on Sunday afternoon to close out the tournament.
Tarter and Trotta had the early chances for the hosts, while the Cooncats came back with their own chances, only to see Seigars turn away a couple of bids.
The She-Wolves got a power play with 7:15 to go and Lovering found Eldredge for a bid that went just wide and Eldredge sent the puck in front for Trotta and Tarter, but the Cooncat keeper held tight and they killed off the penalty.
Hendrickson and Stewart continued the offensive pressure, forcing the Cooncat keeper to make a couple of saves, while Richard sent a shot wide of the net. Hendrickson had the final look of the period, but she was denied on a nice save and the period drew to a close with the game still scoreless.
Tarter, Trotta and Hendrickson got the offense moving early in the second, but couldn't put the puck in the net. Eldredge had a shot blocked as well and with 6:13, a bounce went just the way the Cooncats hoped, as it slipped behind Seigars and gave the Cooncats a 1-0 lead.
Trotta and Stewart had scoring bids just miss and Cloos and Lovering were strong on defense and the period came to a close with the Cooncats up 1-0.
Hendrickson had an early bid go wide in the third and the She-Wolves took a penalty with 9:03 to go. Hendrickson did a great job killing the penalty, controlling the puck in the offensive zone. Murray was also solid on defense, helping to kill off the penalty.
However, with 5:56 to go, the Cooncats were able to slip another puck past Seigars for a 2-0 lead, forcing the She-Wolves to go into offensive attack mode for any hope of snagging a win.
The offensive charge led to Hendrickson getting into the zone, as she carried the puck from the blue line into the zone and used a nice move to get past the defense and buried the puck to cut the lead to 2-1 with 4:24 to go.
The She-Wolves continued to try and pressure, but the Cooncats didn't back down, forcing Seigars to make a couple of saves and the clock ran out on the comeback bid, giving the Cooncats the 2-1 win and with it, the Turin Division championship with a 3-1-0 record.
The She-Wolves also dropped a 6-2 decision to the Wild Women on Saturday night.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or email@example.com