mBank U19 girls roll to state title

MARQUETTE – The Marquette mBank U19 girls hockey team took home the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association State Championship with five-straight victories, outscoring their opponents 42-5.

Marquette opened the tournament with a 14-1 victory over host team Alpena Warriors. Leading mBank in scoring was Shae Blewett with six goals, Libbie Doney with five goals and one assist and Riley O’Connor with a goal and five assists. Also scoring was Mackensie Masters (2) and Dana Paquet (1). Assists went to Brooke Swajanen (3), Annie Boyer (1), Lexi Guidebeck (1) and Taylor Swajanen (1). Rachelle Livermore made 12 saves.

mBank beat the Manistique Wildcats for its second victory of the weekend with 8-1 victory. Leading the team in scoring was Shea Blewett with three goals and four assists and Riley O’Connor with a goal and four assists. Also scoring was Kara Salo (1), Hailey Peterson (1), Brooke Swajanen (1) and Masters(1). Collecting assists were Alex Paquette (1), Dana Paquet (1) and Doney(1).

The third game in pool play was against Traverse City North Stars. mBank scored four first period goals en route to an 8-1 win. Scoring for mBank was Blewett (4), O’Connor (2), Doney (1) and Swajanen (1). Collecting assists were Faith Martin (1), Shelby Gregoire (1), Rachelle Livermore (1), Paquette (1), Swajanen (1), Blewett (1) and Paquet (1).

“The last few games we played TC during the year we had a couple one goal victories and a tie”, coach Gregg Swajanen said. “We knew this was going to be a physical challenge for us. They are a very aggressive, talented team.”

In the semifinal game, mBank beat the Midland Hornets, 7-2., with three goals in the first and three more in the second.

Leading the team again in goals was Blewett (3), Doney (1), Salo (1), Paquette (1) and Swajanen (1). Collecting assists were O’Connor (3), Amanda Gray (1), Guidebeck (1), Peterson (1), Doney (1), and Jillian Frye (1).

“This was the only team we did not play during the regular season but we knew they are a well discipline and coached team,” Swajanen said. “We played this same team in last year’s state semifinal game that we lost 2-1. Our girls were so focused, we just knew they would be ready and come out flying. They did just that.”

In the championship, Marquette beat Cheboygan 5-0. Scoring goals in the final were Alex Paquette (2), Peterson (1), Doney (1) and Blewett (1). Collecting assists were Amanda Gray (1), Swajanen (1), Paquet (1) and O’Connor (1). Rachelle Livermore was in goal for all five victories.

Swajanen said the win was a total team effort and all 17 girls had a big part in winning the state title.

“Playing Cheboygan four times in the regular season, we knew they had a couple ‘game changing’ players we had to know when they were on the ice,” said Swajanen. “We had a plan going into the game and the girls stuck to it right to the end of the game.

“Everyone was a little nervous going into this game, so it was nice to get a power play goal early in the game to settle the nerves. Our defense and goaltending was outstanding all year and they stepped it up another notch.”

mBank finished the season with a 34-7-3 overall record.