National tournament a goal from Day 1 for Lady RoughRiders
Getting to the USA Hockey Youth Nationals last year was one thing for the Rocky Mountain Lady RoughRiders 16U AA team.
Doing it again was the bigger challenge, but the girls repeated with a Rocky Mountain District championship March 12, sweeping the Arizona Lady Coyotes in two straight shutouts of 8-0 and 7-0.
“It definitely feels great to advance to the national tournament, but it was an initial goal of the team at the start of their season,” said Lady RoughRiders hockey director Marcus Scarafoni. “The team set a goal of making it back to the national tournament and I am so proud of the coaching staff and players. They are a cohesive group of kids that are working toward a common goal together and it is proving itself on the ice. They really showed themselves as a team in the two games at the district tournament.
“The coaching staff has been fantastic for the group this year and there are a lot of second-year players. I also think having those second-year players getting the experience of last season’s national tournament will take us even further this year.”
At districts, Teagan Ries posted both shutouts in goal, only facing 16 shots over the two games. Julia Volpe led the way offensively with six points on four goals and two assists, while Devin Porazinski netted four goals. Shalea Counts and Rianna Schacher each registered two goals and an assist.
The national tournament is in Burlington, Vt., from March 31-April 4. Going in, the Lady RoughRiders sit eighth in the national rankings.
“The season has been a great success for the team this year and our hope is to take it to the top five in the country and surpass the play of last season’s national tournament team,” said Scarafoni. “I believe this group of girls has the will and the ability to get it done. No matter what happens in the national tournament, the experience these girls will get is priceless. It has been a great season for these girls and they have had a lot of success and grown both as individuals and a team.”
— Matt Mackinder