April 4 was Championship Monday for the 2022 USA Hockey National Championships, and two Michigan teams are coming home with hardware at the end of the big day.
Little Caesars captured the Girls’ 19U Tier 1 championship in Pittsburgh, Pa., while the HB Hockey Club (HoneyBaked) won Girls’ 16U Tier 2 in West Chester, Pa.
The LC 19U team, coached by Saverio Posa, Grace Markey, Kenny Ryan, Mellissa Channell, Rob Liddell and Rocky Thompson, wrapped up a perfect 6-0 run through the national tournament with a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers Monday afternoon.
“This team has worked so hard this year,” Thompson told USA Hockey after the game. “This is so special for them. I’m so proud of how they handled situations, the ups and downs of the tournament. I loved how they grew over the course of the tournament. I’m very proud of them.”
Six of the top eight scorers in the national tournament wore the Caesars’ blue and orange. Kirsten Simms led the tournament in scoring with 10 points in six games, while Cassandra Hall was one point behind with nine. Ella Blackmore recorded eight, while Elyssa Biederman, Kaia Malachino and Jenna Nikles all had seven.
Bailey Callaway backstopped the LC squad to victory in the title game; throughout the 2022 nationals, she played in five games and finished with a 2.16 goals-against average and .936 save percentage. Allison Ayuyu appeared in two games, posting a 1.50 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.
Caesars finishes the season with a 50-11-5 record.
Meanwhile, HB wrapped up the Girls’ 16U Tier 2 1A title with a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers Monday morning in thrilling fashion.
Madison Klamo scored the game-winning goal at the 9:44 mark of the first overtime period, breaking a 1-1 tie and giving the HB girls a national title.
Mikayla Darty scored the lone regulation goal for HB, while Camryn Schwartz made 25 saves between the pipes.
The title game was sweet revenge for HB, after the Jr. Flyers had beat them 2-1 in their tournament opener last Thursday.
It wasn’t the first time HoneyBaked found itself in OT in the national tournament; in the semifinals, in-state rival Little Caesars took them to extra time before Meghan McLuckie scored to break a 5-5 tie.
“We skate a lot at practice,” head coach John McMahon told USA Hockey. “Our mantra is: We’re a third-period team; we’re an overtime team.”
“For the last two or three months, we’ve been skating for 10 minutes at the end of practice. We honestly believe that.”
Lucy Zate led HB in scoring with eight points in six games; Ella Dumas and Reese McMahon were second with five.
HB finished with a 5-1 record in the national tournament, and a 36-16-4 record in the season.