SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Keweenaw Storm earned the right to play for a USA Hockey national championship later today after holding on for a 2-1 win this morning over the Colorado Tigers in the semifinals of the Tier II 19U Nationals.
The 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.
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 Jessica 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 goaltender Stephanie King, but she turned them all aside and the Storm held off the Tigers' attempts to score with the extra attacker.
King finished with 14 saves.
The Storm will play for the national championship tonight at 7:45 p.m. EDT against either the Chazy (N.Y.) Lady Flyers, who led 3-0 at the time of this posting, or the East Coast Wizards.