---- — PLATTSBURGH — After winning the state championship a week ago, the Chazy Flyers 19U girls’ hockey team will be heading to San Jose, Calif. to compete in the Tier II National Championships beginning April 3.
“We’re not going there on a vacation trip, but on a business trip,” Chazy coach Ray Guay said. “We’re focused and want to bring the trophy home. The girls have bought into it.”
There will be 12 teams competing in the nationals, with three divisions of four teams.
Chazy will play first-round games on April 3, 4 and 5.
“We have games in our division against a team from Mid-America, the New Jersey Colonials and a team from Michigan,” Guay said.
Teams who advance through round-robin play will move into the quarterfinals on April 6, followed by the semifinals the same day, and the championship game on April 7.
“The nationals were in Texas last year, and we lost in the quarterfinals to Dallas, who ended up winning the championship,” Guay said. “But the Dallas team is a Tier I team this year.”
The host Flyers combined for a 4-0-1 record in winning the state championship.
There were two divisions of four teams. Division I consisted of the Buffalo Hornets, West Seneca Wings, Brewster Bulldogs and Norwood-Norfolk Ice Storm. Division II teams were the Skaneateles Lakers, Lady Islanders, Cazenovia Chiefs and Chazy.
In round-robin play, Chazy opened the tournament with a scoreless tie with Cazenovia before skating to a 4-1 win over Skaneateles and a 5-1 victory over the Lady Islanders.
“(Goaltender) Christina Emery stood tall for us in the first game, and then we were able to take over,” Guay said.
Chazy came out of round-robin play as the top seed in its division, while Skaneateles was the second seed. Both won their semifinal contests to set up a rematch in the finals.
The Flyers rolled to a 6-2 victory over West Seneca, and Skaneateles defeated Brewster in a shootout.
In the championship game, Chazy blanked Skaneateles 4-0. The goals were scored by Amanda Peterson, Emily Raville from Jess Huber and Sydney Battistoni, Huber from Makayla Duffy and Lauren O’Conner from Clara Giroux. Emery was in net to record the shutout.
Guay said the team, despite not having a lot of depth, is capable of bringing home the title.
“We have 13 girls, mostly from our Beekmantown high school team,” Guay said. “We have three players from Saranac Lake and one from Lake Placid. Huber and Emery are in college, but they are still young enough to compete.
“Our ultimate goal is to win, but we also want to have some fun. This isn’t new to us — we have some experience and hope to do well. We have the confidence, and the girls have bonded well.
“We have two lines and two sets of defensemen — we were the same way last year. We’re a good skating team, and the girls are used to the playing time. We have veteran players who have been with me for five years.”
For those wishing to make a donation to help the Flyers with the expensive trip, go to www.chazyyouthockey.com and the address will be there.
A two-week bottle drive is ongoing, and the drop off is at the Chazy Redemption Center in town. There will be a box there at all times.
“Last year, we got great support from the community,” Guay said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the girls.”