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HPHL girls GOTW: Heuten, Black Widows shutout Coyotes in HPHL Isobel tournament championship

By Thaddeus Carroll, SportsEngine, 06/07/21, 10:00AM MDT

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Hub exclusive: Goaltender Annalena Heuten stymied a relentless third-period attack to secure the Black Widows’ first High Plains Hockey League tournament championship since 2014.

The Black Widows celebrate their first HPHL Isobel Division Championship since 2014 after beating the Coyotes 2-0 at The Edge Ice Arena on Sunday, June 6. Photo submitted

The Black Widows celebrate their first HPHL Isobel Division Championship since 2014 after beating the Coyotes 2-0 at The Edge Ice Arena on Sunday, June 6. Photo submitted


Black Widows goalie Annalena Heuten.

Black Widows goaltender Annalena Heuten may have been the strongest of the bunch. She stopped 21 shot attempts in the final period to help the Black Widows earn a 2-0 victory on Sunday at The Edge Ice Arena in Littleton.

Heuten finished the game with 37 saves, marking her third shutout of the season.

“With her in net, you’re never overly worried. You know she is going to take care of her job,” Barrett said. “She came up with some huge saves in that third period. One in particular I was sure was in, but she got her leg out and stopped it.”

Her performance wasn’t an aberration. During the HPHL regular season, Heuten led or co-led all Isobel Division goaltenders with two or more starts in three major goaltending categories: Save percentage (.963), wins (4) and shutouts (2).

“She played amazingly, and she’s been lights out for us all season long,” Barrett said.

Supplementing Heuten’s performance, the Black Widows offense controlled action throughout the opening period and into the second. They created strong chances off the forecheck and spent little time in the defensive zone.

“They did a great job keeping the puck moving in the offensive end and we were stuck chasing a little bit,” Coyotes coach Nathan Pugh said.

Kelsey Ross took advantage of an opportunity, scoring backdoor one minute into the second period.

The Coyotes, who had beaten and tied the Black Widows in two regular-season meetings, tried to push back. They changed momentum late in the second period and turned the offensive tide completely in the third.

“Between periods, I told the girls, ‘It’s just one goal. We’ve scored a lot of goals this year, right?'” Pugh said. “So, it was just about firing pucks at the net and getting traffic in front.”

And the Coyotes executed. They outshot the Black Widows 21-5 in the final period. Coyotes goaltender Payton Sutherland finished with 26 saves on 28 shots.

“The girls played hard, and we just couldn’t seem to get it past their goalie,” Pugh said.

Anna Masiello cushioned the Black Widows' lead with another backdoor score late in the third. The goal was Masiello’s fourth in two playoff games. She tallied a hat trick during a 7-5 semifinal win over the Polar Bears in a game earlier on June 6. She also assisted on Ross' goal in the second period.

Six minutes later, the buzzer sounded and the Black Widows celebrated the program’s first HPHL tournament championship since 2014.

“It was a long drought. From that standpoint, it’s great for the Black Widows to get a win. We’ve kind of been on the outside looking in,” Barrett said.

And if they want to go to the Chipotle-USA Hockey High School National Championships in Dallas next March, they won’t have to be on the outside looking in then, either. The win granted them an opportunity to attend the prestigious event.

Nerves of steel will probably help at the national level, too.

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