TEAM DEMPSEY WINS 2022 PHF ALL-STAR SHOWCASE

by PAUL KROTZ

Goaltender Elaine Chuli Named Most Valuable Player

The stars of the Premier Hockey Federation were shining on Saturday night in Buffalo for the 2022 PHF All-Star Showcase at Northtown Center.

Team Dempsey, coached by Sami Jo Small was declared All-Star champions after winning the final game of the mini tournament by a 5-1 score over Team Thunstrom, coached by Mel Davidson. Both teams finished with a 1-1 record, as did Team Darkangelo, coached by Meghan Chayka, however it was Dempsey’s unit that prevailed by virtue of the goal differential tie-break.

Goaltender Elaine Chuli of the Toronto Six was awarded All-Star MVP honors for her efforts between-the-pipes in the final game that solidified the victory.

“We had fun and that’s all that matters,” Chuli said post-game. “It was tough coming out for that second game, but the girls put a bunch of pucks in the net so that was good. We just really rallied back and kept it positive and came out with the big win. It was a great weekend.”

Connecticut Whale forward Kennedy Marchment and defender Tori Howran both had a pair of goals including one each in the 5-on-5 portion of the competition and the final shootout. McKenna Brand of the Boston Pride also added a shootout marker in the decisive game. Chuli’s only goal against in the third game was on the final shootout attempt by Pride defender Amanda Boulier.

“That was an incredibly fun time,” captain Jillian Dempsey said after the final buzzer. “Obviously picked the right group of kids to get it done! Chuli played amazing and came up clutch for us in the end and nobody was more deserving for the MVP than she is. We were joking in between that this was our game and we had to get it done. It was enjoyable that we were able to pull it off. We were just having a great time out there and everybody did the job.”

Dempsey’s squad sat out the first of three mini games then suffered a 3-2 defeat when they took the ice against Team Darkangelo in the middle matchup. Pride defender Kali Flanagan opened the scoring for Team Darkangelo, captained by Toronto’s Shiann Darkangelo. Her Six teammate and PHF top scorer Mikyla Grant-Mentis scored once more in 5-on-5 and again in 3-on-3 action to finish with a three-point performance. Buffalo Beauts defender Dominique Kremer replied for Team Dempsey with a goal during 3-on-3.

The final goal of Game 2 was scored during the shootout by an unlikely source. Beauts forward Cassidy Vinkle was called for her attempt but elected to provide the opportunity to fellow fan favorite Carly Jackson who was serving as the event’s backup goaltender. Jackson put on Vinkle’s jersey and put her shot past Pride goaltender Katie Burt to cut Dempsey’s deficit to 3-2.

“We had a really strong lineup out there, and I think coming out in that second game, all the girls were really wanting to win that championship,” honorary coach Small said post-game. “After that first game in the dressing room, just telling the girls that this is the chance for them to shine and to really utilize each other. We knew we needed to be ahead by two goals at the end of the game. Just the excitement on the bench, the camaraderie, it was really special to be a part of. Forever Team Dempsey, forever champions!”

Game 1 featured Team Thunstrom winning by a 3-2 score over Team Darkangelo. Jonna Curtis of the Minnesota Whitecaps scored twice while her teammate and All-Star captain Allie Thunstrom picked up two assists plus the game-winner in the shootout. Buffalo’s Kennedy Ganser and Toronto’s Lindsay Eastwood both scored in the shootout for Darkangelo. Whale netminder Abbie Ives earned the win for Thunstrom.

This marked the sixth All-Star event in PHF history and the first since 2020 in Boston. Buffalo also hosted the inaugural event in 2016. This was the first time the event featured three teams and introduced mini games consisting of 10 minutes of 5-on-5, five minutes of 3-on-3, and a five-player shootout.

As MVP, Chuli earned a $500 cash prize from the PHF along with a $500 gift card from Warrior Hockey.

2022 PHF ALL-STAR SHOWCASE SCORES:

Game 1: Team Thunstrom 3 vs Team Darkangelo 2 – Box Score
Game 2: Team Darkangelo 3 vs Team Dempsey 2 – Box Score
Game 3: Team Dempsey 5 vs Team Thunstrom 1 – Box Score

The event was broadcast live on ESPN+ in the United States and on TSN5 in Canada.

CHAMPIONS: TEAM DEMPSEY COACHED BY SAMI JO SMALL

Goaltender: Elaine Chuli (TOR). Defenders: Kaleigh Fratkin (BOS), Tori Howran (CTW), Dominique Kremer (BUF), Taylor Woods (TOR). Forwards: Taylor Accursi (BUF), McKenna Brand (BOS), Jillian Dempsey (BOS), Kennedy Marchment (CTW), Cassidy Vinkle (CTW), Emma Vlasic (CTW).

Autumn MacDougall (BUF) was also a selected member of Team Dempsey but was unable to compete due to COVID-19 protocols. Marie-Jo Pelletier (BUF) of Team Thunstrom also missed the event as a result of COVID-19 protocols.