• Homer Women’s Hockey opens tournament play in Palmer
By Sean Pearson
Anxious to see how they measure up against the “big-city” teams, Homer Hockey Divas brought their “A” game to Palmer over the weekend for their first tournament of the season.
Turns out they needed an “A+” game.
Homer challenged three teams for the C-Cup title, beginning with B. Bella. And the fact that the Palmer team was playing on their home ice did very little to intimidate the Divas. Finding the net early in the first period, they took ahold of the lead and never let go. Goalie Michelle Hatton picked up the shutout, turning away every shot B. Bella could hurl at her.
“Michelle had a fantastic game,” said league organizer Ingrid Harrald. “She was stopping everything.”
Thanks to goals from Jessie Cashman, Terry Larson, Ori Badajos and Andrea Stineff, the Divas controlled the Palmer squad with a 4-0 win. Cashman earned Most Valuable Player honors for her goal and two assists.
Game two matched Homer with a much stronger team from Anchorage, MTA. Struggles with scoring against the larger and more physical team threw the Divas off their game, and they fell 0-2. Stineff was named MVP for her “endless shot attempts,” Harrald said.
Heading into semi-final play, Homer stepped up to face the Anchorage Hockey Nuts for a trip to the championship game.
“A lot was riding on this game,” Harrald said. “The tension was high when both teams took the ice.”
The Divas started strong with a first-period goal by Syverine Abrahamson, and continued to dominate play for the remainder of the period. A late goal by Cinda Martin gave Homer the 2-0 lead. Hatton continued her strong tournament performance in goal, stopping dozens of Hockey Nut shots. Kristen Brown punched one in early in the second period, but the Nuts retaliated with a breakaway shot that slipped past Hatton to finish the period with the Divas leading 3-1.
Homer held the Nuts at bay through the third period, adding one more goal by Stineff to end the game with the 4-1 victory. Brown was chosen MVP, and the win sent the Divas on to the tournament’s championship game.
For the second time in as many days, Homer battled MTA for the C-Cup title. This time, however, Harrald said the Divas were “determined to win.”
A strong Homer defense, led by Hatton in goal, continued to deny MTA at the bet.
“Michelle was on fire during the first and second periods,” Harrald said. ”She stopped everything, including four breakaways.”
During a first-period Diva offensive attack, Larson connected with a rebound to get her second goal of the tournament. It would be the only goal for the Divas in the championship game.
Homer’s defensive efforts maintained their lead until the third period, when MTA tied the score at 1. With neither team scoring in sudden death overtime, tournament rules indicated that the title would be decided by shootout.
Hatton stood strong in goal, turning away all but one MTA shot. However Diva shooters Brown, Stineff, Hannah Johnson, Leslie Slater and Emily Hutchison just couldn’t sneak one past the Anchorage goalie. MTA won 2-1 and claimed the C-Cup, while the Divas took second.
Hannah Johnson was named MVP.
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