GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Girls ice hockey is on the rise in the Capital Region. Right on the heels of the Adirondack United’s breakout inaugural season in the high school ranks, a local travel team made some history of its’ own this week.
The Adirondack Northstars won the national championship of the 2023 Chipotle-USA Hockey Girls Tier II 14U 1A Tournament Monday out in Irvine, California. They arrived at the championships Thursday, and rattled off six straight victories over five days, capped off by a 2-1 title win over Team Colorado.
It was an experience the players won’t soon forget.
“I was really excited; it felt like a dream,” said goalie Aurora Graham-Hayes, who’s an eighth grader in the Warrensburg Central School District. “We came off the ice, and were, like, “Did we actually just do that? Like, that’s crazy.” That hasn’t happened in our organization. We’re a really small town. Being able to say we’re national champions…some of us were crying after the game. It was really exciting.”
After Adirondack took a 2-0 lead just 25 seconds into the second period, Team Colorado cut into the deficit in the third period, scoring with just 3:36 remaining. The Northstars managed to hang on from there, but it made for some tense moments down the stretch.
“It was very hard to keep it to a one-goal lead in the last few minutes,” said Glens Fall seventh grader Maddie Oliver; she played right wing for the Northstars. “And it got really crazy in the last minute. So, it was just – when the final horn rang – a sigh of relief. It’s just amazing.”
Much of the team was comprised of players from the United, including eighth grade forward Emily Macaulay, who is a student at Queensbury. She scored both goals in the championship game, and embodies the quiet confidence the Northstars have possessed for much of the season.
“When we got to the championship game, I don’t think anyone processed it was a championship game,” said Macaulay. “Coach Ben (Marcantonio) always told us it was just a game. “Don’t worry about it; it’s just a game.” So, when we went into it, it was just, like, “we got this.”
“I told them all along they had something special,” said head coach Ben Marcantonio. “Beginning of the season it was a little bit of a struggle, but when push came to shove, these girls believed in each other; they believed in working for each other. And when we won states, and we said we were making it to nationals, everybody was all in; all hands were on deck, and they all committed to the team.”
Macaulay recorded 13 points over the six games – the most in the Girls Tier II 14U 1A Tournament.