Spring is in the air but the local hockey season has been extended into April for the Vermont Shamrocks Under-16 and U-19 girls teams.
Both squads boast a collection of the top talent from across Vermont and the New York side of Lake Champlain in two age groups. The players compete for their local high schools or prep schools during the regular winter season before joining the Shamrocks. Both the U-16 and U-19 Shamrocks won the recent New England Regional Championships in Concord, New Hampshire, to advance to the USA National Tier II Championships in Buffalo this weekend.
The U-16 Shamrocks went 4-1 in the New England Regional tournament. They advanced to the USA National Tier II Championships by scoring with three seconds left to defeat the Connecticut Northern Lights, 2-1, on St. Patrick’s Day. The U-16 Shamrocks open tourney play Thursday against the Pennsylvania-based Steele City Selects. They will play the Aspen Leafs on Friday before facing the Wisconsin Selects on Saturday. The elimination games will follow, with the championship to be played Monday.
The U-16 Rocks have two local skaters: Northfield’s Corinne Bolding and Stowe’s Abby Chauvin. Bolding, who attends The Gunnery School in Connecticut, is excited about playing on the national stage.
“Finally reaching this point is a victory we’ve all been thinking about for years,” she said. “After years of seeing the older Shamrock teams make their way to nationals, we have been anxiously waiting for our shot at the title. An exciting win over the Northern Lights in the finals with a goal in the last 10 seconds made our victory even better.”
The U-19 Shamrocks skated to a 6-2 victory over Concord, New Hampshire, to win the New England title. The U-19 Shamrocks will open tourney play Thursday against New York opponent Canton/St. Lawrence. They will take on the East Coast Wizards on Friday and will face the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes on Saturday. Elimination playoffs will follow, leading up to Monday’s championship. Area players on the U-19 squad include Stowe’s Leo Clark, who was recently a standout goalie for the Raiders’ high school team. She is joined by Montpelier’s Bella Parento, a defenseman, and Northfield’s Cat Miles, a high-scoring forward.
Miles skated for Northfield High School for two seasons before transferring to Hebron Academy. She said it’s exciting to be back playing for her home state.
“I am very honored to represent Vermont in the national tournament,” she said. “Leaving Vermont to go to Maine for prep school, I don’t get many opportunities to represent Vermont in things anymore. To also be able to do it with many other talented women from Vermont is just another honor in itself. I have played with many of these girls since I was younger. So to compete for a national title with them one last time is something I am super excited about.”
While the excitement of winning the regional is still fresh in the minds of players and coaches, Miles said the Shamrocks are completely focused on what they will need to do this week.
“At regionals, our team was very successful,” she said. “We worked as a team at every end of the ice, always supporting each other. We put a ton of pucks in the net during games and just have a lot of natural connections throughout our lines. We always come excited to play, excited to have another opportunity on the ice together. If we stick to our game, I think we will be very successful.”