BY RANDY SCHULTZ –
LAKE PLACID, NY – Nothing seemed to scare the Clinton Warriors girls high school ice hockey team in their journey to win the 2020 NYSPHSAA Girls Ice Hockey Regional Championship.
They were one of four teams in New York State to earn the right to play for a State Championship at the legendary Herb Brooks Arena, home of the “Miracle On Ice.” It didn’t scare them to play in the famous arena on an Olympic-size rink.
Then they found out that they had to play an undefeated Salmon River team in the first-round that they had only been able to tie once this year. That didn’t scare them either as they blanked the Shamrocks, 1-0, handing them their first loss of the season.
If that wasn’t enough, the victory over Salmon River earned Clinton the right to play the defending New York State Girls Ice Hockey Champion Williamsville team. Once again the Warriors weren’t scared and scored a single goal which was enough to dethrone the 2019 champions, 1-0.
The championship game proved to be a nail-bitter for both sides. Neither team could put a puck into the others net for two full periods.
The scoreless tie was finally broken at the 6:37 mark of the third period when Mia Lopata, a captain on the team, blasted a shot past Williamsville goalie, Mia Wendell to score a power-play goal. It was all the Warriors needed.
Clinton goaltender Hailey Millington stood her ground, err, ice, and stopped the onslaught of shots the Williamsville team fired at her. When the final horn sounded Millington had stopped all 24 shots that she had faced.
It was the second day in-a-row that Millington blanked an opponent. That’s no goals allowed in six periods of hockey.
At the opposite end of the ice Wendell stopped 12 of the 13 shots she faced.
NOTES: Clinton held the high powered Williamsville offense to just two shots in the first period…Abby Kurdziolek got the lone assist on only goal of the game…Williamsville finished the season with a record of 16-3-2…Clinton finished their season with a record of 13-2-3…The Warriors also finished their campaign with eight straight wins and going undefeated in their last 14 contests.