St. C. youth goalie shines in Sweden

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Emily Cramer’s ultimate goal is to make the United States Olympic women’s hockey team.

At the rate the Belmont County teen is going, she might get their faster than she had planned.

She recently returned from Nykoping (Stockholm), Sweden where she competed in the prestigious World Select hockey tournament. Her West Coast Select squad toppled powers the likes of Russia, Finland and the host country in the round-robin portion of the event to advance to the semifinals. Sweden was the opponent again, and the Americans prevailed by a 4-0 margin as Cramer posted the shutout as the goalie.

In the championship game, ironically, the WCS team had to go against the other USA squad. The game was deadlocked 1-1 at the end of regulation, but the West Coast Select won on a goal halfway through the 15-minute overtime session.

“It was a great experience to compete on an international stage and meet a lot of girls from different countries,” Cramer said. “Of course, it was awesome to win the tournament and come home with the gold medal.”

In addition to the St. Clairsville native, the WCS team was comprised of Tier 1 players from Alaska, California, Wisconsin, Michigan, western Pennsylvania, western Ontario, Canada.

“During the regular season most of these girls are on teams we compete against, so it was fun to play with them at this level and get to know them in the off-season,” she said of her teammates. “Now when my Pittsburgh Penguins Elite team travels to different tournaments, it will be nice to see the girls I played with on the select team.”

Cramer has been playing hockey since she was 5 years old.

“I watched my brother play and it (hockey) looked like fun,” she explained in her choice of extracurricular activity. “My parents tried to keep me out of it, but I was very persistent and kept telling them I wanted to play hockey. I started playing out on the ice, but volunteered to play goalie one time and fell in love with the position. I love being a goaltender for a lot of reasons.”

In addition to playing for the WCS and Pittsburgh Penguins Elite teams, she is also a member of the Bantam Wheeling Nailers. The Pittsburgh Penguins Elite team has participated in the national championships the past three seasons, finishing third twice, including this past summer.

She aspires to play college hockey after graduation from high school.