By Janet Schultz, NYHOL
The Tenth Anniversary Western New York Girls Varsity Ice Hockey League All Federation teams were named following an exciting season.
Named to First Team: Jersey Phillips, Lancaster-Iroquois-Depew (LID); Emma Roland, Williamsville; Mary Kromer, Frontier LakeShore, Orchard Park (FLOP); Brooke Becker, FLOP; Abigail Blair, Kenmore-Grand Island and Dylan Gorski, LID.
Second Team honorees included Lara Beecher, Monsignor Martin; Morganne Dee, LID; Natalie O’Brien, Niagara County; Lilli Adimey, Clarence/Amherst/Sweethome(CASH); Mia Boyd, Monsignor Martin; and Mia Wendell, Williamsville.
Third Team: Allison Greene, CASH; Riley Malicki, Monsignor Martin; Jenna Cavalieri, Williamsville, Kayla Persinger, Niagara County; Erin Roland, Williamsville, Sophia Will, Monsignor Martin.
LID’S Kevin Miller was named Coach of the Year; Jersey Phillips and Brooke Becker were name Co-Players of the Year and Brett Banker, Kenmore Athletic Director was awarded the Dr. James Rusin Award.
Emma Roland topped the Leader Board this season with 31 goals and 14 assists. On the top with her were Jersey Phillips with 22 goals and 18 assists, Morganne Dee, 21 goals and 13 assists.
Kromer had another successful season with 29 points as did Becker with 27 points, Cavalieri, 25 points.
Goaltending was a key this season and Gorski, Wendell and Will shined between the nets, as well as giving a great show for the audiences. Gorski played 601 minutes and made 314 saves on 334 shots.
Wendell, a fan-favorite at the NYS Tournament, played 707 minutes, faced 309 shots and made 293 saves. While Will played just 323 minutes, she made 145 saves on 152 shots.
Kevin Miller, in his first year behind the LID bench, led them to a first place position coming into the League Quarterfinals. They beat Niagara County 5-1 in the quarters, setting them for a faceoff against Hamburg/Eden/West Seneca in the semis. Another 5-1 victory and they faced Williamsville in the League finals.
The game was a Williamsville lead from the first period on. LID’s only goal was made by Jersey Phillips in the third period, ending the Championship with a 8-1 victory for Williamsville.
The Section VI playoffs find LID getting the bye in the quarters and facing Kenmore/Grand Island in the second. Kenmore wins, ending LID’s season.
Up to the playoffs, Miller had coached LID to winning 13 of 14 regular season games, after losing their opening night to Monsignor Martin. Gorski entered the post season play with a 140-minute shutout streak.
The season went to Williamsville. They took both the League and Section VI Championship. They fought hard at the New York State Championship, but just couldn’t get past Clinton.
Williamsville ended the season with a 10-2-2 record under Coach Rick Hopkins. They dominated the playoffs with a 4-1 win over CASH; 2-0 over FLOP and a 6-0 win over LID in the League Championship.
In the Section VI Championship they beat Niagara County 7-1; FLOP 1-0 and Kenmore 3-2 in the Championship.
The Williamsville vs Kenmore rivalry started early on when KGI beat Williamsville 6-1 in Season 5 to head to the state championships. Then in Season 6 they Williamsville played KGI to a 4-1 Kenmore win, taking Kenmore back to the NYS Championship. Season 7 it was another Kenmore win in the Section VI play but then Kenmore lost to FLOP in the Championship.
Then the quest for Williamsville became one between them and FLOP. In Season 8 Williamsville loses to FLOP who goes on to win the State Championship.
In 2018-19 Williamsville beats FLOP 4-3 in overtime and then moves on to win the State Championship at home at HarborCenter.
Miller wasn’t the only coach to have great achievements this season. Coach Rick Hopkins of Williamsville and Coach Jeff Orlowski of Kenmore/Grand Island both hit their 200th game mark, and both are original coaches from the Inaugural season.
What’s to come?
In this league there is never a clear-cut winner from the day the puck drops in November until the Championship game is well into the third period.
In this time of frustration and stress over an international crisis, it’s a great time to reflect on what we have.
A little over 14 years ago this league was fighting to get on the ice. This season we celebrate 10 years of girls varsity ice hockey. A few of memories, from notes of course:
Ceremonial puck drops at each home opener, a curfewed game in November (2:17 mark of third period between HEWS and Williamsville), the signings of several players to college commitments early on in November with Abby Blair to St. Anselm, Mary Kromer to Mercyhurst, Jersey Phillips to Mercyhurst; Emma Roland to RIT; and Mia Wendel to Yale.
Monsignor Martin’s Lara Beecher with 5 goals and an assist in a 9-0 victory over CASH; LID’s Jersey Phillips moving to 12th on the All-Time scoring list in December with a tie 92 points with Kaitlyn Drew-Mead; HEWS first win this season with a 4-1 victory over CASH on December 9; Isabella Zivis getting her first varsity goal in that same game; Williamsville’s first loss of the season at the hands of LID whose only loss was an OT one to Monsignor Martin, also on December 9.
Niagara County had their first-ever win when they beat HEWS 5-4 in overtime. Amanda Jackson had a hattrick and Natalie O’Brien with 2 goals had the OT winner. Goaltender Annie Riek stopped 27 of 31 shots.
HEWS Olivia Wade had her hand in all 4 goals of a 5-4 loss to Williamsville. Williamsville’s Vanessa Willick had a hattrick plus an assist.
While its a unique experience to play at Riverworks, Alannah Pagano had her first varsity goal there on December 16. Teammate Allie Greene had a hatrick and Sydney Spear scored an empty-netter in a 5-1 victory over Niagara County.
Jersey Phillips hit her Century Mark with 100 career goals after scoring a hatrick against Monsignor Martin. The score–3-0 LID.
Morganne Dee (LID) was named Preptalk Player of the Week for December 20, Abby Blair took the Grand Island Athlete of the Winter Season and Mary Kromer was named a WIVB-TV Scholar/Athlete. (I think there were others but can’t locate the information).
We welcomed Lewiston-Porter and North Tonawanda players to the Niagara County Team.
Salmon River came in to play exhibition games against FLOP and Kenmore, something the Coaches hope to repeat by going to Salmon River next season.
Williamsville playing on the Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, site of the “Miracle on Ice.”
For me, it was very emotional to walk out on that ice to photograph the post-game ceremony. I had been in the arena several times, but never on the ice.
You all have great memories from the ten years and this past season that are much more personal than these; but it was enjoyable to go back through.
Here’s to 2020-2021, may bit be better than ever.