Two Lady RoughRiders teams off to nationals
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Still only in its infancy, the second-year Rocky Mountain Lady RoughRiders organization has wasted little time establishing itself as a legitimate player in Colorado’s youth hockey circles.
The Westminster-based girls program will send two of its teams – 14U AA and 16U AA – to this month’s USA Hockey Tier II National Championships, which will be showcased from March 26-30 in Lansing, Mich.
The 14U club’s berth comes after it celebrated a Colorado Amateur Hockey Association state championship last month – a two-game, best-of-three series sweep over the Aspen Leafs at Apex Ice Center in Arvada – followed by a Rocky Mountain District regional title earlier this month in Dallas.
At regionals, the RoughRiders knocked off the Texas Brahmas, 2 games to 0, in their best-of-three series.
“We really brought it all together as a team in Dallas; I’m proud of all the girls and how hard they worked,” said RoughRiders coach Mark Wolf. “It’s such a selfless group and so fun to coach.”
Forward Julia Volpe led the Lady RoughRiders’ scoring charge at regionals, notching six points (four goals). Between the pipes, goaltender Teagan Ries picked up both wins while posting an impressive .909 save percentage.
“I love how passionate these girls are about the game, and their ability to tackle any adversity head-on,” said Wolf. “They all believe in themselves and their teammates, and that’s so important when it comes to having success, especially at this level.”
Wolf says his club’s promise this season should bring more attention to the Lady RoughRiders program and the opportunities it provides in terms of development and exposure.
“I think what we’ve accomplished shines a positive light on the organization, and hopefully will attract more players from around the state to come play for us,” he said.
And when his girls get to Lansing, Wolf knows full well they’ll need to be in top form if they plan to compete with the rest of the nation’s best.
“We need to be focused from start to finish – there’s no doubt about that – and we need to stick to our commitment of playing as a team through and through,” he said.
Uncontested in the district, the LadyRoughRiders’ 16U AA squad earned an automatic bid to nationals.
Jordan Slavin, head coach of the club, says her girls need to keep a positive frame of mind if they want to taste success in Lansing.
“They’re conditioned, they know how to work hard and know how to play the game,” said Slavin. “The only thing that can get in their way is what’s in their own head.”
Regardless, the chance to compete on the national stage will be a rewarding experience.
“We expect our girls to come mentally prepared to every practice in order to be mentally prepared to compete,” said Slavin. “It’ll be a challenge, but one we’re all ready to embrace.”
Select Shows Well in Dallas
Also at regionals, the Colorado Select’s 19U AAA team fell to Dallas Stars Elite in their best-of-three series, 2 games to 1, losing the decisive contest, 4-0.
Dallas swept the Select’s 16U AAA squad in their best-of three series, 2 games to 0.
In the 19U AA bracket, the Select went 2-0-1 in round-robin play before falling to the Utah Lady Grizzlies, 3-0, in the finale.
– Brian McDonough