The Marquette Advantedge Girls 19U hockey team traveled to Grand Rapids this past weekend to participate in the MAHA State Finals,coming away undefeated and bringing the title back to the U.P.
The girls began the journey on Friday with an opening game against the G-Force of Gladwin. After a scorelesss first period, the local girls opened up the scoring with Allison Carlson scoring, with assists going to Abby Esbrook and Hannah Holma. The girls made it a final score of 2-0 after Laureen Reckker scored a shorthanded goal on the empty Gladwin net. Carley Maanika posted the shutout by stopping 21 shots.
Play for the girls resumed on Saturday, with the first game of the day being against the Michigan Icedogs of Ann Arbor. Opening the scoring for the Advantedge girls in the first period was Esbrook (Reckker, Carlson), followed by goals by Carlson (Esbrook, Sydney Sarasin), Haley Boroughf (unassisted), and Esbrook (Carlson) again. After a scoreless second, the Icedogs scored first in the third, aonly to be matched by a goal by Kirsten Iwanski for the final score of 5-1. Maanika faced 26 shots in net.
Later the same day, Marquette faced the Escanaba Great Lakes Wolfpack, coming away with a 5-2 victory. Sandwiching a first period goal by Escanaba were Esbrook (Reckker) and Boroughf (Kaitlin Salmela) for a 2-1 lead after 1. After another scoreless second period, Marquette scored the next threee goals. Denting the twine were Boroughf (Nelson), Carlson (Holma, Reckker), and Marlowe Pentecost (unassisted), followed by the lone Wolfpack goal. Maanika turned aside 33 of 34 shots for the win.
Marquette finished pool play with a 3-0 record, giving them the first seed in the finals. In the semifinal game played Sunday morning, the Advantedge team squared off against the North Stars of Traverse City. Neither team was able to score in the first, but Marquette opened up a 2-0 lead by the end of the second period. Scoring were Reckker (Esbrook) and Iwanski (Boroughf, Holma). After T.C. scored to open the third, Marquette answered with 2 of their own. First was Nelson (Boroughf) followed by holma (unassisted) into an empty net for the final score of 4-1. Maanika allowed 1 goal on 41 shots.
This set up a rematch with Gladwin in the championship game late Sunday. G-Force scored the only goal of the first period, the only time that Marquette would ever trail in the whole tournament. Marquette scored the tying goal in the second period, with Carlson buring the shot after passes from Esbrook and Holma. Reckker scored the final goal of the game into an empty net to seal the win and giving the local girls a perfect record of 5-0. Maanika faced 32 shots to end the tournament. Abby Esbrook was awarded the MVP of the final game for her play.
Marquette will now head to Anaheim, California, to participate in the National tournament.