In a last minute schedule addition, the Carolina Lady Eagles boarded the bus Thursday, March 17 and headed west. The long bus ride to St. Louis was split in two with the team getting into Nashville around 3:00am after getting stuck in traffic on the way out of North Carolina. The team got up early and hit the road again to make it to St. Louis in time to take part in the festivities around the NCAA division 1 Frozen Four women's tournament that was also taking place in St. Louis. The Carolina group was able to watch the incredible Wisconsin-Boston College match up that came down to the final 16 seconds to determine a winner. As soon as that game ended the team boarded the bus again and headed to their own game against the Nashville Admirals. Since this tournament was so last minute, the Eagles had only 9 skaters and 2 goalies.
After heading to the wrong rink about an hour early, the team eventually made it to correct rink for puck drop at 9:30pm central time. The team got the start they were looking for as they led the Admirals 2-0 going into the second period. The girls kept rolling as the score was 4-1 heading into the final period. In what can only be assumed was a miscommunication one of the referees cut 8 minutes out of the third period. The Eagles were still able to put one in and win 5-1. Carolyn Whitney scored her 49th and 50th goals of the season in the game. The team then went back to the hotel and got a good nights rest before two more games and a skills competition the next day.
At 9:50 the next morning the puck dropped against the u19AA St. Louis Cyclones. The game was as tight as expected as the score was tied at 1-1 after the first period. The Cyclones had the edge for the start of the third period leading 2-1 but the Eagles were able to tie it up at 3. Neither team could find another goal so both walked away with a point in the standings with the game ended in a 3-3 tie.
The team quickly got on the bus, stopped at Wal-Mart for granola bars and chocolate milk and made it across town for the skills competition. The team showed their talent with Erica Jacobson winning the World's Fastest Skater trophy, Naomi Nice winning the World's Fastest Goalie trophy, the team combining to be the Tug of War Champions, and earning the title of World's Fastest Team by winning the team relay. After cleaning up at the skills competition, the group went out to lunch then back to the hotel for some rest before the final round robin game.
Game 3 vs the Colorado Rockstars was set for 6:50 Saturday night. Despite putting 40 shots on goal, the Eagles just could not get one over the line. Unfortunately, the Rockstars were able to get a goal in the third period. The game ended in a 1-0 loss for the Eagles. Luckily though, the Nashville Admirals had defeated the Colorado Rockstars earlier in the tournament leaving each team with just 2 points in the standings. The Eagles and the St. Louis Cyclones were going to have a rematch in the championship game, and this time there would have to be a winner.
Puck dropped at 12:00 central time on Sunday for the u19 championship game and it was do or die time for the Carolina girls. The small squad came ready to play and the evenly matched game was locked up at 0-0 after 3 full periods of play. Next came overtime, the nerve racking, sudden death, 3 on 3, extra hockey. Not long into overtime the St. Louis Cyclones took a penalty and the Lady Eagles got a man advantage. Defender Erica Jacobson got the puck on the Eagles' blue line and fired a pass cross ice where Emily Petersen was ready. In a 2 on 1 with Carolina defensmen Morgan Sifinski, Petersen put a shot on net that hit off a Cyclone stick and went bar down. The game was over. The team from Carolina would be heading back with the hardware they'd been craving. After an awards ceremony the team hit the showers before stopping by Steak and Shake for celebratory milkshakes. The team then boarded the bus for the long ride home filled with streaming NCAA and professional women's hockey championships and homework.
It was a really long ride and the team didn't get back home until 6:00am when they pulled into the parking lot of RCI. The girls and their families headed home and many had to get ready to go to school to be eligible to play in lacrosse games. One player even took a shower and made it to school in time for the 7:25 start. That's Impressive.
The team finished the season in an impressive fashion that they will be looking to build off of next season. The future looks bright for the Carolina Lady Eagles.
Highlights: Carolina Lady Eagles vs. Nashville Admirals
Highlights: Carolina Lady Eagles vs. St. Louis Cyclones
Highlights: Championship Game- Carolina Lady Eagles vs. St. Louis Cyclones