Storm suffers OT heartbreak again

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Keweenaw Storm suffered a heartbreaking exit from the USA Hockey Tier II 19U Nationals Sunday night, losing the championship game 3-2 in double overtime to the Chazy (N.Y.) Lady Flyers.

The game bore several similarities to the 2011 16U title game, which the Storm also lost in overtime.

In both games, the Storm fell behind early. In the 2013 version, Chazy’s Kallie Villemaire had the only goal of the first period, then Jordynne McDougall made it 2-0 at the 5:45 mark in the second.

Keweenaw started its comeback right away, as Jessica Schlaff cut the deficit in half just 62 seconds later. Schlaff then found the equalizer just in time, tying the game with 4:55 to play.

The Storm outshot the Flyers 5-2 in the first 10-minute overtime period, which ended scoreless, but Villemaire scored the tournament-winning goal on a deflection at 3:31 of the second OT.

Keweenaw outshot Chazy 30-18 and got 15 saves from goaltender Stephanie King.

Schlaff finished the tournament as Keweenaw’s offensive leader with six goals and six assists over the six games. Selena Stromer had four goals and four assists.

Earlier Sunday, the Colorado Tigers gave the Storm their toughest game of the tournament thus far, but two first-period goals held up and Keweenaw held a one-goal lead throughout the last period and a half for a 2-1 semifinal win.

Madison Labyak put Keweenaw ahead at the 9:44 mark of the first period with her first goal of the tournament. Chelsea Jacques drew the assist.

Keweenaw doubled its lead less than three minutes later on Bailey Raffaelli’s goal, her second of the tournament, with assists from Lexi Pyykkonen and Schlaff.

Unlike many of Keweenaw’s previous opponents, the Tigers didn’t lose steam as the game went on. Emily Coupe made it 2-1 with her goal at 1:10 of the second.

The Tigers’ goal ended the scoring but didn’t end the pressure. They put eight shots in the last period on King, but she turned them all aside and the Storm held off the Tigers’ attempts to score with the extra attacker.

Saturday, the Storm controlled play throughout its quarterfinal, outshooting the Portland (Maine) Jr. Pirates by a 42-7 margin and winning 5-1.

Keweenaw broke through first on Cassidy Rajala’s goal at the 3:43 mark of the first period. Pyykkonen tallied on a power play later in the period for a 2-0 lead before Portland pulled one back in the last minute of the frame.

The Storm nabbed the vital first goal of the second period when Kim Harter lit the lamp at 5:40. The Storm successfully killed two penalties and cashed in on a power-play of its own, as Allie Patrick upped the lead to 4-1 with 44 seconds left in the period.

Keweenaw completely shut the game down in the third, as the Pirates failed to record a single shot on goal. Stromer finished the scoring with three seconds left in the game.

King made six saves.