Williams returns to junior hockey national championship

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Hunt High senior Hannah Williams will once again trade her softball glove for a hockey stick as she and her 19U Carolina Lady Junior Hurricanes return to the USA Hockey Girls Tier II National Championship beginning Thursday in Amherst, N.Y.

A right winger for the Raleigh Youth Hockey Association-based club, Williams’ team earned the nationals berth after winning the USA Hockey Southeastern District Tournament Championship in February.

The Junior Hurricanes finished second in pool play during district competition and avenged a 6-5 overtime loss in pool play to the Northern Virginia Ice Dogs with a 2-1 victory in the championship game.

Thus, Williams’ team finds itself in a 16-team national tournament with four groups of four teams. The Junior Hurricanes have been placed in the NHL pool with the East Coast Wizards, Canton/St. Lawrence and the Vermont Shamrocks. 

Tournament play begins Thursday at 2 p.m. against the East Coast Wizards, with a Friday 9:15 a.m. contest against Canton/St. Lawrence. Pool play concludes Saturday at 4:40 against the Vermont Shamrocks. All games will be played at Amherst’s Northtown Center.

The top two teams in each group advance to single-elimination play, which begins Sunday with two games for quarterfinal winners. The championship is set for Monday morning.

Last year in Marlboro, Massachusetts, the Junior Hurricanes went winless in pool play during the Tier II 16U national tournament.