MACKINAW CITY – The Gladwin G-Force girls 19U hockey team brought home second place in the Adray Hockey League’s Girls 19U State Championship tournament held in Mackinaw City over the weekend. Eight teams from all over the Lower Peninsula came to vie for the state title. The G-Force was in the “American” division, taking on Cheboygan for their first game of round-robin play on Friday. Cheboygan scored the only two goals in the first period. Gladwin came out of the second with a lone goal by Sarah Lather, assisted by Patsy Howe. Gladwin went into the third period down 1-2, but the girls found their legs and dominated Cheboygan. They put up four goals over Cheboygan’s one to end the game with a 5-3 win. Gladwin goal scorers in the third period were Anna Lunsford, Sammi Gregg, Brandi Butler and Sarah Lather. Picking up assists were P. Howe and Gregg. Goalie Faith Howe was in net for the win. Round-robin play continued on Saturday with two games for the G-Force. Their first match-up would be the Alpena Warriors. In a strong showing, the entire Gladwin team contributed to a decisive win 5-1 over Alpena. Jessica Myers put the G-Force on the board two minutes into the first, with a nice assist from Lather. Brandi Butler followed with an unassisted goal, to end the period up 2-0. The second period proved to be a defensive contest as neither team scored. Excellent coverage from defensemen Tiffani Stewart and Tina Druskins, and strong defensive support from forwards Hannah Fowler and Emmy Zang kept Alpena’s attempts futile. Gladwin was determined to keep Alpena down and succeeded by holding them to one goal in the third while putting up three more points. Goals came from Alexis Ade, assisted by Lunsford. Myers had a nice shot assisted by Lather and P. Howe. Butler put the final goal in with another assist by Lather. Faith Howe took the win again in net with a score of 5-1. The third game of the weekend pitted league rivals Gladwin and Mackinaw City against each other. As the regular season Adray North champions, Mackinaw City had the G-Force in their sights. Gladwin fought hard to keep from being shut-out. With 11 seconds remaining in the game, Stewart found P. Howe deep in the corner. From a difficult angle P. Howe sent the puck flying over the Mackinaw goalie’s shoulder for Gladwin’s only goal of the game. F. Howe suffered the 1-4 loss in net. After round-robin play, Gladwin’s record advanced them to the semi-finals. They faced the first place team from the “National” division, Kalamazoo. This proved to be a defensive match-up. Solid Gladwin defense and fast back-checking by forward Kelsey Olson contributed to a scoreless first period. The game’s only goal occurred in the second period. As both teams battled in front of Kalamazoo’s net, Gladwin’s Jessica Myers dumped the puck in with an assist from Druskins. Gladwin controlled the puck for most of the third period, but would not score again. Alpena’s attempts at scoring in the next game were thwarted by stellar defense and goaltending. F. Howe had her first shut-out of the weekend. A G-Force 1-0 win put them in the championship game, and they had a chance at redemption against the other advancing team, Mackinaw City. The championship game was set. Mackinaw City won the face-off and marched down ice to take the edge by putting the puck past F. Howe with only 28 seconds ticked off the clock. Gladwin re-grouped to answer back with an unassisted goal by Lather. Mackinaw scored one more time to end the first period up 2-1. Both teams started the second period at a fast pace, but after outstanding play up and down the ice no team could find the net. Going into the final period, Gladwin had to produce a point to keep their hopes alive. The team generated pressure but could not get any good scoring opportunities. With 1:28 left in the game, Gladwin called their goalie to the bench to put out a sixth player. Gladwin controlled the puck in Mackinaw’s defensive zone, and the game heated up with awesome aggressive effort. The G-Force would not go quietly. The Gladwin G-Force put up a valiant fight but fell short, 2-3. Every G-Force player contributed all weekend to a show of some great hockey. Coaches John Ade and Dina Howe were proud that their players never gave up. The Gladwin G-Force travel to Marquette March 2-4 to compete in the first-ever Michigan Amateur Hockey Association’s Girls’ 19U House/Recreational division State Tournament.
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