BY RANDY SCHULTZ –
If one would have looked at the standings and the playoff matchups of the Western New York Girls High School Hockey Federation before the playoffs began, you would have said that there were three teams that looked like good bets to be in the finals. But looks can be very deceiving.
There was Frontier/Lakeshore/Orchard Park (FLOP). They are the defending Section VI Federation champs. And they were the triple crown winners from last year having won the Fed, their League as well as the New York State Girls High School Championship.
There was also Williamsville, who are the new NYS Girls High School champions. Throw in Monsignor Martin with the solid team they have. There was even Clarence/Amherst/Sweet Home (CASH) as an outside possibility.
Come this Sunday, Feb. 24 FLOP will be there. But to their, as well as others, surprise the team they will be facing will be Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew (LID).
“Coming into this team on Sunday we did not expect to be playing Lancaster,” said Mary Kromer, a forward for FLOP. “But I think it is great that we get to play LID.
“We had some really tough games against them earlier in the season. So it will be interesting to see what the outcome of this game will be.”
Kromer has seen a lot of changes in the girls’ high school play in her years with FLOP.
“I think that it is really close competition,” explained Kromer. “The league has gotten a lot better since I first started playing.
“This should be a great game on Sunday.”
Playing in the same building (Haborcenter) as the NWHL’s Buffalo Beauts is also quite an honor for Kromer as well as the rest of her FLOP teammates and the LID team.
“It was great to see other professional women athletes practicing here this morning,” said Kromer. “That is something you don’t get to see too often.
“And to be able to play in their rink is truly an honor.”
Having won the trifecta of championships last season, Kromer, as well as the rest of her FLOP teammates, knew that this season would bring out the best from all the other teams.
“I think throughout this season, we had a tough times getting past some of the other teams we play,” stated Kromer. “It seems like everyone wanted to try and beat the ‘three-victory’ team from last year.
“I know that this team (LID) is really hungry for a championship. This is their chance to get it.
“But I also know that FLOP really works hard to get what it wants. It should all make for a great game on Sunday.”