The Divas women’s hockey team headed to Anchorage last weekend to play in the USA Hockey Alaska State Tournament. This is their seventh year playing in the tournament, but their first year to come home with the championship banner in the novice division.
Six teams from around the state competed in the novice division and Homer had a tough schedule facing teams they had never played before from Nome, Anchorage and the Valley.
Their first game against Nome on Friday night was well played, especially with the Divas down two players due to illness. Emily Hutchison started the night off by scoring the first goal of the game, a breakaway coast to coast. Chuck Flyum followed with a goal during the second period from the backdoor. Karyn Noyes sealed Nome’s fate with the final goal of the game, another straight shot from the backdoor. Goalie Lydia Brown had her first of three shutouts.
Saturday morning with one win under their belt and the full team healthy, the Divas were feeling pretty strong. It’s a good thing, because they were up against the Chieftains, and were challenged from every direction. The score of the game was held at 0-0 until well into the second period when Emily Hutchison was able to find Ori “Scori” Badajos for the signature backdoor goal that the Divas have been perfecting. The Divas were able to keep the score 1-0 thanks to goalie Lydia Brown who had her second shutout.
The final game in regulation play was late Saturday night against Ice Tease from Anchorage. The Divas carried on the winning streak with three impressive goals in at row by Hanna “Hat Trick” Johnson. She got a standing ovation from the crowd and hats fluttered down onto the ice in celebration. The Divas wasted no time adding a few more points with a top shelf goal off the post by defenseman Emily Hutchison and a breakaway goal by Ingrid Harrald. The game ended 5-0, with goalie Lydia Brown receiving her third shutout in the tournament.
The Divas faced the Chieftains again in the championship game at 8 a.m. Sunday, not known to be their finest playing time. By following their coach’s mantra “nothing good happens after midnight,” all Divas brought their A game to the championship. It was also good that they brought Ori “Scori” Badajos who started off by scoring late in the first period.
The Chieftains came back and scored on a breakaway tying the game at the end of the first period. The second period was a battle until Hannah Johnson connected with Ori Badajos for another goal to take the lead. Divas held that 2-1 lead until late in the third period when a rebound puck slipped passed goalie Lydia Brown to tie the game.
The Divas couldn’t get the lead back and the game was tied at the end of the third period. A five-minute sudden death overtime was started and rules required play to be 4 on 4. The Divas took possession of the puck and never let go. Center Kristen Brown was able to find Ori Badajos at center ice for the goal that won the championship game a minute into overtime.
The final score was 3-2.
The tournament MVPs were Lydia Brown, Hannah Johnson, Ori Badajos and Emily Hutchison.
“Coach Dean Kildaw and sponsor Homer’s Jeans were vital to winning the championship banner which will be hung at sponsorship locations around town before retiring to its place of honor at the Kevin Bell Arena,” according to a press release from the team.