By Rick Menning
After battling it out with a tenacious effort through three periods, it took overtime to decide the showdown between the MidFairfield Stars and Shoreline Sharks 19-under age group Tier 2 teams in the recent Connecticut Hockey Conference (CHC) tournament action in Cromwell.
With just under two minutes gone in the OT play, Stars center Cate McLean lit the lamp with an amazing goal off a perfect assist from Lea Ernest to lift the Stars to a 4-3 victory on Feb. 20. The clincher came 1:47 into the extra session.
“We really wanted to win this game, as we had gotten beat pretty badly earlier in the season by (the Sharks)," McLean said. "So this time we brought our all and I was happy to be able to score the game winner.”
Meeting up on the ice for the first time since November when the Sharks posted a shutout over MidFairfield at Northford Ice Pavilion, the Stars rose to the occasion this time around and came through with the 'W' in dramatic fashion.
It was a display of total teamwork as each and every player contributed to the success of the Stars, who advance to the championship game on Sunday, Feb. 27 in Newington. Puck drop is at 6:20 p.m.
'Whale' of an effort
Coach Abbie Ives, who knows a little something about success herself as the starting goaltender for the Connecticut Whale of the Premier Hockey Federation, praised the Stars' perseverance in the overtime triumph.
"We showed how much better we got this season and put it all together to pull off a big win against a good team we hadn’t beaten yet," Ives said.
After the Shoreline squad struck first early in the game, the Stars answered as Elia Bissell snapped home a rebound opportunity for the equalizer. Elizabeth Marino and Mia Lovering set up the goal with great assists.
Once again the Sharks jumped back in front during the second period, only to have the determined MidFairfield skaters respond bigtime as Beale Dunne scored to make it 2-2. Her goal came off a nice helper by Nicole Partridge.
Then, in the third period, the script repeated once again with Shoreline scoring first but the Stars answering back for the third time in the contest as Briana Rockwood pulled her squad even with the assist going to Lovering.
The MidFairfield defense then took center stage to force the overtime.
Goaltender Liana Seeley played a fantastic game as she turned away many opportunities for the Sharks. She had many impressive blocks and was a force in the net.