• Anchorage edges Homer by 1 in championship game shootout
By Sean Pearson
The Homer Divas took to the road for the first time this year, playing in the intermediate division at the Palmer C Cup Women’s Hockey Tournament.
The Divas got busy early, burning the Healy Coal Queens 5-0 in the opening game. Ori “Scori” Badajos led Homer with two goals, while Ingrid Harrald, Karen Weston and Shelly Laukitis each scored one.
Homer goalie Michelle Hatton picked up a shut-out, and Harrald grabbed the game’s Most Valuable Player distinction.
The Divas’ battle against the Anchorage Hockey Ho Ho Hos in game two turned out to be quite a bit tougher. Anchorage found the back of the net first — and second — scoring twice and taking a 2-0 lead into the second period.
Following a quick redirect from Coach Buck Laukitis, Diva Nora Rojek scored Homer’s first goal of the game, closing the gap to one. Both teams struggled to score as the third period ticked away, and things were looking bleak for the trailing Divas. Then, Badajos stepped up to crank out her third goal of the tourney, tying the game 2-2 with three minutes left.
As the two teams continued to battle for the lead, Homer’s Karen Weston broke out the puck, faked out the goalie and scored with less than a minute on the clock. Homer hung on for the win, and Weston was named MVP. With one player on injured reserve, the undefeated Divas tweaked their game plan a bit against MTA from Palmer, and hit the ice hard.
The Palmer squad scored early in the first period, but Homer owned the second, as Emily Hutchison’s top-shelf goal tied the score at 1-1. Harrald then scored on a rebound, giving the Divas a 2-1 lead. Despite digging their heels in on defense, the Divas gave up the lead on an MTA breakaway goal, and the game ended in a 2-2 tie. Homer defenseman Jessie Cashman was named the game MVP. With a 2-0-1 record, the Divas qualified for the championship game and rematch against the Ho Ho Hos.
Kristen Brown gave the Divas the lead with a first-period goal, while Harrald added a little insurance with a goal of her own. And, by the time Hanna Young scored to give Homer a 3-0 lead, the Divas were pretty much on cruise control. “We may have relaxed a little too much,” Harrald said of the game.
A determined Anchorage team mounted a comeback, and scored on a breakaway goal as the second period came to an end. The Divas looked confident going into the third period with a 3-1 lead, until Young drew a penalty for tripping, and Anchorage scored on the power play.
Still clinging to a 3-2 lead, Homer gave up another goal late in the third period, sending the game into a shootout. Homer goalie Michelle Hatton blocked four of Anchorage’s five shots-on-goal, giving the Hos a one-point lead. Diva shooters Badajos, Brown, Young, Weston and Shelly Laukitis couldn’t get around the Anchorage goalie, and fell 3-4 in the championship game. Hatton was chosen as the game’s MVP.
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