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She-Wolves nab third in annual tourney

Field expanded to a dozen teams in tournament's 12th year

SARA POTENZA drives the puck into the zone against the Angels on Friday, March 26. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
March 29, 2010
WOLFEBORO — The Wolfeboro She-Wolves Travel Team finished up its annual tournament in solid fashion, besting the Winnipesaukee Ice Cats in the final game to secure third place for the weekend in a field of seven teams in the top division.

The She-Wolves opened the tournament, which featured 12 teams in two divisions, on Friday afternoon against the eventual champions, the Rochester Angels.

The Angels tested She-Wolves goalie Carrie Smith in the early going, sending a number of shots on net, only to see her turn them away. As the She-Wolves got their skates under them, Sara Potenza, Laurie Butcher, Val Murray and Donna Kasianchuk got the puck in the offensive end but were unable to put a shot in the net.

Jen Putney joined the action on the offensive end with a couple of great scoring bids that were denied by the Angel goaltender.

Smith also held her own, turning away three solid scoring chances from the Rochester women.

Hwoever, a slap shot from near the blue line with 3:40 to play in the first period found its way through the crowd and to the back of the net for a 1-0 lead for the Angels.

Putney, Michelle Rafalowski and Renee Bernier put on the pressure in the offensive zone and Putney and Rafalowski just missed connections on a great pass in front of the net and the She-Wolves remained scoreless.

With 1:14 to play in the period, the Angels got the game's second goal, beating Smith for a 2-0 lead, a lead they took to the whistle ending the period.

The She-Wolves got an early power play opportunity in the second period and Fiona Reeve and Putney had scoring bids but couldn't find the back of the net.

A She-Wolf penalty with 10:10 to play negated the remaining nine second on the power play and gave the Angels 1:21 of power play time. However, a nice clear by Putney helped to kill off the man advantage with no damage done.

However, the Angels were able to keep the puck in the zone following the penalty and it paid off with 8:04 to play, as they upped the lead to 3-0.

Butcher and Potenza brought the puck the other way and had it on the doorstep, only to be denied and the Angels came back up the ice with their own scoring bids. However, solid defense by the She-Wolves kept the Rochester women out of the net. Bernier and Putney had good scoring bids denied.

However, with 4:24 to play, Butcher pushed home the puck after some solid She-Wolves pressure and the lead was cut to 3-1. Butcher had another chance to score in the final few minutes but was denied and Smith made a nice save to close out the period with the Angels leading 3-1.

The Angels had some scoring chances early in the third period, with Smith doing her job and keeping them out of the net.

At the other end, Putney and Potenza did their best to try to get the She-Wolves closer. After turning in a solid defensive play, Reeve got in on the offensive action as well, but she was denied.

Smith made three big saves in a row as the Angels pressured for the fourth goal, and that turned the She-Wolves free on offense, with Rafalowski, Bernier and Potenza clamoring to try and put the puck in the net.

Smith was pulled from the net in the final minute as the She-Wolves looked for the extra attacker and they pressured the puck, but the Angels drilled an empty net goal with 16 seconds on the clock to record the 4-1 win.

The She-Wolves returned to the ice on Saturday morning for a game with the Brattleboro Riverhawks and it didn't take long for the visitors to get on the board, as they opened the scoring just 42 seconds into the game.

The She-Wolves tried to get back on track, as Bernier, Putney, Kathy Farley, Butcher and Brandi Atwell all had the puck in the offensive end looking for a chance to put it in the net, but they couldn't find a way to put it in.

Smith, after the original goal, held her ground nicely, as she turned away a number of shots, giving her teammates a good chance to get back in the game.

Bernier, Putney, Reeve, Potenza, Kasianchuk and Rafalowski all made valiant bids to get the She-Wolves on the board, but the puck stayed out of the net despite a barrage of pressure in the final few minutes of the first period. The first frame ended with the Riverhawks up by a 1-0 score.

Smith made a couple of solid saves coming out of the break and her teammates tried to get her a goal, as Atwell, Bernier, Rafalowski and Potenza all crashed the net with scoring attempts.

The She-Wolves finally got on the board with 8:41 to play in the period. Farley sent a shot on net and it found its way through the crowd, bouncing past the Riverhawk goalie to tie the game at one.

The Riverhawks tried to take the lead back right away, but Smith turned away one shot and another went wide of the net. Smith also got some help from Reeve, who did a nice job defending a two-on-one breakaway.

Bernier, Putney and Kasianchuk helped the She-Wolves get some good scoring chances in the final few minutes of the period, but they couldn't get anything in the net and the score remained tied at one after two periods.

Smith made a great save on a breakaway early in the third period to set the tone early and the She-Wolves found themselves on the power play with 9:55 to play in the game.

Putney, Reeve and Potenza all had good scoring chances during the advantage, but the She-Wolves were unable to capitalize and the Riverhawks killed off the penalty.

The local ladies continued the pressure after the power play, with Putney, Kasianchuk and Butcher looking to get the She-Wolves on the board. Marcia Eldredge sent a pass through the crease but nobody was able to put it home and Kasianchuk and Murray were in close and couldn't put the puck past the goalie. Putney hit the post and she and Bernier both had chances in close but were denied.

With 54 seconds to play, the She-Wolves got a power play and Potenza, Bernier and Butcher all had scoring chances but couldn't put it in the net and the game ended with the teams each getting a point for the 1-1 tie.

The She-Wolves were back at it later on Saturday as they defeated the Westchester Wildcats by a 5-3 tally. Bernier netted the She-Wolves' first four goals and Putney added the fifth.

The tournament's final game was a battle for third place, as the She-Wolves and Ice Cats took to the ice on Sunday afternoon.

The two teams came out quickly with multiple chances at both ends of the ice. Putney had three chances for the She-Wolves but was turned away and Smith turned away a couple of Ice Cat chances as well.

However, with only 2:32 gone in the first period, Butcher pounced on a rebound of a Potenza shot and put it in the net for a 1-0 She-Wolves lead.

After a couple of saves by Smith at the other end, Putney picked up the puck and moved it down the ice and drilled it to the back of the net for a 2-0 lead with 7:47 to play in the first period.

Farley, Putney, Bernier and Rafalowski did their best to make it a three-goal game but came up short. The Ice Cats wanted their first goal, but Smith denied that chance twice in a row, but finally the visitors broke through, netting a goal with 2:11 to play in the first period.

Potenza and Bernier had chances in the final minutes of play but were turned away and the period ended with the She-Wolves up by a 2-1 tally.

Murray and Putney had scoring chances early in the second period but couldn't put them on net. Smith made a couple of nice saves at the other end and got some defensive help from Reeve and Putney and also from the goal post, as one shot rank off the post and out.

The Ice Cats continued to pressure, as Smith made a number of solid saves to keep her team ahead. Putney, Bernier, Potenza, Butcher and Farley all had offensive chances but couldn't give the She-Wolves a bigger lead and the game went to the third period with the local ladies up by a goal, 2-1.

After Putney, Rafalowski and Bernier opened the period with an offensive charge, the Ice Cats came back. However, good defense from Reeve and solid work from Smith in net helped to keep them off the board.

Butcher and Putney each had shots saved and Smith turned away three more bids from the Ice Cats to keep it a 2-1 game.

With 7:29 to play, Potenza broke in and lofted one to the top shelf for a 3-1 lead for the She-Wolves.

After a nice blocked shot by Laura Cooper on the defensive end, Bernier had a coupe of scoring bids denied and with 5:25 to play, the Ice Cats cut the lead to one with a rebound goal, making it 3-2.

The Ice Cats continued to pressure for that tying goal, forcing Smith to make a number of big saves and in the final minutes, Potenza, Rafalowski and Farley did a great job of tying up the puck in the zone to keep the Ice Cats from generating any offensive chances and the She-Wolves hung on for the 3-2 win and took third place in their own tournament.

The Wolfeboro She-Wolves include Michelle Rafalowski, Laurie Butcher, Renee Bernier, Jen Putney, Laura Cooper, Kathy Beckwith, Barb Thomas, Kathy Farley, Donna Kasianchuk, Val Murray, Marcia Eldredge, Fiona Reeve, Sara Potenza, Brandi Atwell and Carrie Smith. The team is coached by Mike Potenza.

Robin Kingston and Maureen Boornazian, who acted with tournament directors (along with Mary Ann Murray) noted that all the teams seemed pleased with the level of competition and the quality of hockey played.

"I think it was our best, most competitive tournament in 12 years," said Kingston. "Most of the scores were really close."

Littleton Chmber
Varney Smith
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