The Big Sky Wildcats, a U-19 girls hockey team with players from across the state, advanced to the USA Hockey National Championship girls tournament in San Jose, Calif., after winning the Northern Plains District Championship in Gillette, Wyo., last weekend.
The Wildcats faced Team Wyoming in the best-of-three finale. The championship came down to the second overtime in the final game and Janessa Courtney of Whitefish assisted Stephanie Tartaglino of Kalispell for the game-winning goal.
The Wildcats advanced to the national tournament, April 3-7.
The Big Sky Wildcats is comprised of girls mainly from Montana and two players from Idaho.
In the three games at the regional tournament, Tartaglino scored five goals and had three assists and Courtney had two goals and four assists.
The Wildcats were the first Montana girls hockey team to attend a national tournament when they competed in 2011 in Anaheim, Calif, according to program organizers. That group made it to the quarterfinals.
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