USA Hockey Magazine

April / May 2018

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"Peyton went top shelf, bar down," said Avery, who would set up her sister twice more before their tournament plays were finished. Team Colorado didn't make it to the quarterfinals, but the Anderson family still headed home with their heads held high. "As a parent, to see your two daughters playing together, finishing a two on one," Lance Anderson said, shaking his head, unable to fin- ish the thought. After a pause, he explained: "Man, that's exciting." That was a common theme for all the players and families who came to the New England Sports Center to be part of the USA Hockey Tier I and Tier II Girls National Championships. And so much talent in one facility definitely caught the attention of college coaches. Among those spotted at the event were Brian Durocher of Boston University and two 1980 Olympic gold medalists of "Miracle on Ice" fame—Mark Johnson and John Harrington, head coaches at the University of Wisconsin and Minnesota State, respectively. One common theme among all the teams was togetherness and team spirit. Many teams had the talent to win; those who claimed the ultimate prize also had team unity and a high level of respect among players and coaches. "It was a team effort, by all 20 of them," said Erin Rouke-Smith, head coach of the Chicago Mission that won the Tier I 16 & Under title. "All girls were willing to work for each other. It was an atti- tude that if you work for the kid next to you, they'll do it for you in return. That was a real strength of our team." Gordie Stafford, whose Shattuck St. Mary's squad won its third straight 19 & Under title, echoed that sentiment. "Our girls really like working together. They're not always together off the ice, but on the ice they're tight," he said. "They're really a team and had a collective determination. For this group, it wasn't about who you were playing against. It was who you were playing with." P Neal Boudette is a freelance writer based out of Ann Arbor, Mich., and a hockey dad whose daughter, Clara, competed for the Kensington Valley Ravens 16U team at the 2018 USA Hockey Girls National Championship. 24 // APRIL/MAY 2018 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM NATIONAL championships T H E U S A H O C K E Y N AT I O N A L C H A M P I O N S H I P girls' tournament in Marlborough, Mass., brought together 96 teams and more than 1,200 players from all across the country. Out of that vast collection of girl power, one of those who stood out was a 14-year-old from Arvada, Colo. Avery Anderson stands about 5-feet-4 inches tall and, according to her father Lance, barely weighs 100 pounds soaking wet. But she played up two levels this year, skating on the wing for Team Colorado in the 19U division at the Tier I level. It was quite a challenge. Avery went up against players three and four years older. Where the tournament program listed her birth year—2003—it looked like a misprint among all the other players born in 1999 and 2000. "She more than holds her own," said her coach, Chad MacLeod. "She has the ability to compete at the 19U level. Physically, the 19U game is tough, but she doesn't back down." Avery herself was unphased battling stronger, taller opponents. "We have some really good talent on our team, and I just try to keep up with them," she smiled after Team Colorado was eliminated. One of the talents she played with is someone she knows well— her older sister Peyton, who has verbally committed to play at Northeastern University. In a game against Assabet Valley, the sisters found themselves on a two on one, with Avery dishing to her sister. NATIONAL championships Colorado Phenom Unphased Facing Off Against Older Competition by NEAL E. BOUDETTE Arvada, Colo. U p , U p A n d A w a y

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