Photos and Story By Janet Schultz
The WNYGVIH All Federation Teams for 2023 were named at the Championships held at Cornerstone Arena in Lockport.
Named to First Team were: Forwards: Riley Andzel, HHEWS; Madison Flory, KENGIPort and Sydney Radecki, LIDA. Defense: Molly Martin, Williamsville and Hailey Cooper, HHEWS. In Goal, Kerrigan McCarthy, FLOP.
Andzel had a 38 point season with 28 goals and 10 assists; Flory at 19 goals and 21 assists and Radecki with 32 goals and 8 assists.
The defenders also made the scoreboard with Martin at 12 goals and 9 assists; Cooper with 2 assists. In goal McCarthy played 571 plus minutes with 282 saves on 312 shots. She had a .904 save% and recorded 5 wins, 8 losses.
Second Team: Maya Griffin, FFLOP; Emiliana Cassillo, KENGIPort; Sam Latini, NiCo. On “D” Emery Fitzery, FFLOP and Madeline Marzec, KENGIPort. Goalie: Ella Buczynski, HHEWS.
Third Team: Forwards Sydney Spear, CASH; Izzy Bourgeault, KENGIPort and Isabella Fedele, MMHSAA. Defense: Jocelyn Smaczniak, FFLOP and Jenny Wild, CASH. In goal, Mariella Mulready, NiCO.
Honorable mentions went to Kelsey Barrett, HHEWS; Erin Prendergast, MMHSAA; Ryann Honadle, MMHSAA; Marina Mansfield, NiCo; Faith O’Connor, NiCo, Gabe Lowell, SML and Avery Hall, SML.
Carolyn Bourgeault of KENGIPort was named Player of the Year; Coach of the Year went to Eric Cooper, HHEWS and the Dr. Rusin Memorial Award was presented to Pete Tonsoline, LIDA.
These awardees were chosen by the Coaches of the WNYGVIH Federation.
In addition an UnSung Player Award was presented for the first time to Anna Meyer of Williamsville. Meyer volunteered to play in goal this season, when no one else came forward at tryouts. She played 763.12 minutes between the pipes stopping 348 shots out of 402, had a .866 save% with 10 wins, 6 losses, 1 tie and 2 shutouts.
HHEWS Eric Cooper was named WNYGVIH Coach of the Year and Pete Tonsoline of LIDA received the Dr. Rusin Memorial Award. LIDA also was the recipient of the Niagara Frontier Chapter of NIHOA given to the team that best exemplifies the charactertistics of sportsmanship, fair play and mutual respect among players, coaches and officials.
As the league works to grow, three schools joined in with already established teams including Franklinville to FLOP now FFLOP; Alden to LID = LIDA and Lockport to KENGI making it KENGIPort.
Aside from the regular season schedule, KENGIPort and Niagara County hosted high school teams from Skaneateles and Clinton for an exhibition weekend at Cornerstone Arena in Lockport. In Game One it was KENGIPort over Skaneateles 3-1; Clinton beat Nico 6-1 in game two and then in a shoot-out KENGIPort beat Clinton 2-1. Skaneateles could only stay for one game so CASH stepped in and played Niagara County to a NiCo 7, CASH 1 score.
Massena Girls Varsity made a trip to WNY to play LIDA and FFLOP with the host teams splitting the difference. Massena lost to LIDA 4-2 in game one and then came back to beat FFLOP 4-1 in game two.
Once again seeding for the WNYGVIH championships came down to the last few games of the regular season. Then in Quarters the season comes to an end for FFLOP after a 2-1 loss to HEWS in double overtime.
On to the Championships, now having Private School and Section VI Championships. Monsignor Martin took the Private School, 2-0 over St. Mary’s of Lancaster. The score doesn’t tell the hard work that both teams put into this match-up.
In Section VI KENGIPort shuts out Niagara County 4-0 and moves to the New York State Regional Championship. (So called because not every section has high school girls varsity hockey).
KENGIPort took its 7th Section VI title in 13 years with Inaugural Coach Jeff Orlowski still behind the bench.
In Utica KENGIPort took on Clinton, who they beat in a shoot-out in December, and lost 4-2; ending thieir season. Clinton moved on to play Adirondack United and beat them 2-1 for the State Championship. Drew Kopeck had the winning goal at 1:20 of the third period to break the 1-1 tie and win the game.
In the KENGIPort/Clinton game Kenmore’s Madeline Marazek and Clinton’s L. Johnson were awarded Sportsmanship Honors.
Interesting to note that while these players play against each other, they also play with each other. Several members of the Cllinton team play on the Syracuse Valley team in the NYSAHA, along with Kenmore’s Carolyn Bourgeault and Madison Flory, just to mention a couple.
In addition to All Fed Team naming and Championship games being played, there were a few additional recognitions that need to be shared.
First a big thank you to the young women who sang the National Anthem for the WNYGVIH Championsips. For the Private Schools it was Lizzy Jankowski of St. Mary’s and for the Section VI Starpoint’s Morgan Szpilewski.
Monsignor Martin’s Trinity Kehoe was recognized at Super Monday when she was presented the Derek Cline Memorial Foundation Scholarship. This is presented by the Cline family to a player looking at becoming an athletic official. Kehoe attends Mt. Mercy Academy and plays forward for Monsignor Martin.
NiCo and CASH were presented NYSPHAA Awards for academic success during the winter athletic season.
In addition to playing for WNYGVIH many of the players also take their talents to travel teams in their hometowns. Such is true for Julia Peters, Riley Andzel, Emiliana Cassillo, Maddy Flory and Carolyn Bourgeault who took their talents to the USA Nationals playing for the Syracuse Valley Eagles and bringing the Championship back to New York State.
Madison Mallone plays for the Stoney Creek Junior Sabres in the Provincial Womens Hockey League, considered the highest level of Junior Women’s hockey.
Cayden Kowalow, LIDA, plays for the U15AA Stoney Creek team that just won the OWHA Provencial Championship.
Congratulations to Emiliana Cassillo for signing a letter of intent to play for the Aurora University Spartans.