Marlboro, MA- Throughout the 2017-2018 season, the U13's showcased their talent, depth, and discipline with regularity, and now on the big stage that is the USA Hockey National Championship Tournament, they continue to shine. Coming off a semi-finals loss in the State Tournament, the Vipers ran through their pool in preliminary play over the past 72 hours in convincing fashion.
They kicked things off against the Casco Bay Marineers, a club they squared off against just a few months earlier in the Fire and Ice Showcase. While the two teams spent the better part of the first frame exchanging chances, the Vipers got a pair of late period goals from Mia Langlois and Julia Pellerin. The team had a much more eventful second period. Lily Brazis' two goals bookend tallies from Maria Pierce and Katerina Yelsits and gave the Vipers a commanding 6-0 lead going into the final frame. Mia Langlois scored the lone third period goal for her second of the day. With some timely saves from both Avery Callison and Lilly Tague-Bleau, The Vipers got a 7-0 shutout win.
Coming off a big win Thursday, The Vipers continued the preliminary round on Friday at 8:10AM against the Steel City Selects. The team had a few chances early, but were handcuffed by three penalties in the first frame. Things stayed scoreless into the second, but the Vipers started to roll, pinning the selects in their own zone for minutes at a time, but were met with an impressive performance by the Steel City goaltender. After having a goal called back, the Vipers finally broke the tie midway through the contest with two powerplay goals from Shea Frost, and Lily Brazis. Brazis netted her second of the game early in the third period, just under 2 minutes after Julia Small extended the lead to 3, and the Vipers got an impressive 4-0 victory.
They would go into their final preliminary game on Saturday having already clinched a playoff berth for Sunday courtesy of Casco Bay beating Little Caesars 3-2 in overtime Friday Morning. The Vipers needed a win or overtime loss against Little Caesars to seal the #1 seed for their pool. It only took the Vipers 30 seconds to get on the board when Mia Langlois tipped a Shea Frost cross-ice pass between her own legs and drove to the net sliding the puck past the Little Caesars netminder. The Vipers then would have to wait until the third period to find the back of the net again, Lily Brazis got a power-play goal to increase the lead to two, and Julia Pellerin capped off the game with a goal of her own with just 4 seconds remaining. The goalie duo of Callison and Tague-Bleau would do their job giving the Vipers their third shutout of the tournament, and help the team finish pool play without surrendering a single goal in the 3-0 victory.
The Vipers will take on the Hartford Jr. Wolfpack tomorrow morning in Marlboro at 8:40AM. The Wolfpack went 1-1-0-1 in the preliminary round, to earn the 2nd seed in their pool. The winner will advance to the semi-finals tomorrow afternoon (3:00PM- Marlboro) and will face the winner of the contest between the Charles River Blazers and the Lady Rough Riders. GO VIPERS!