By Matt Bishop -
TAYLOR — In all the years he’s been involved in hockey, Honeybaked 16U girls coach Lyle Phair said he’s never seen anything like what he saw Sunday at Taylor Sportsplex.
In a game that saw more than 100 shots on goal and nearly 120 minutes of hockey, it was Phair’s Honeybaked squad that beat Little Caesars 2-1 after seven overtime periods to win the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association state championship.
“The longer it went, the harder it was going to be to score,” Phair said, citing his team’s ability to roll 10 forwards and six defensemen. “Both teams were drained, the tanks were empty, but it all comes down to will.”
Lea Boreland’s goal with 1:40 left in the seventh overtime ended a marathon game that took nearly four hours to complete.
With Little Caesars’ Brooke Lupi called for tripping, Boreland ended it, taking a pass from behind the net and finding the top left corner of the goal, right under the crossbar, to give Honeybaked the win.
She was named MVP for scoring the winner.
“I just tried to get it to the net because we were having a little trouble with that, considering it was the seventh overtime,” Boreland said. “It was great.”
Honeybaked goaltender Jessica Convery made 62 saves, keeping her team in the game despite being under intense pressure multiple times.
“I thought our goaltender was outstanding,” Phair said. “She wasn’t going to let us (lose).”
Little Caesars goaltender Bethany LeClair was equally as stout, stopping three Honeybaked breakaway chances in the overtime sessions. She made 42 saves.
As Honeybaked dog piled onto Boreland after the goal, the entire Little Caesars squad gathered around LeClair, forming a circle around her, many dropping to the ice in disbelief when it was done.
“It was all heart,” Little Caesars coach Joe Kolet said. “They played with all heart and didn’t leave anything out there. They didn’t let up and played the whole way.
“It’s a tough one to lose, but somebody’s got to win it.”
Molly Abraham scored in the second period for Honeybaked, but Kelsey Tucker countered 26 seconds later for Little Caesars. It would be the only scoring until Boreland’s winner.