Before Saturday’s state championship game, the Williamsville girls hockey team gathered together and watched Disney’s ‘Miracle.’
For many, Kurt Russell’s portrayal of Herb Brooks’ pregame speech to the 1984 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey team before their medal round game with the Soviet Union is one of the most inspiring moments in the history of hockey.
The girls were paying special attention to the speech.
When Brooks came to “I’m sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have,” the girls screamed ‘Skaneateles!’ (their opponent) over Soviets.
While they may never receive quite the notoriety of the 1980 Olympic team, Williamsville’s accomplishment this week certainly holds weight on its own accord.
Williamsville won five games in just six days, including twice in overtime, en route to their first ever New York State Public High School Athletic Association Girls Ice Hockey Regional Championship.
“I’m excited,” said Jenna Cavalieri, who scored the game winning goal with 4:18 left in overtime Saturday night. “I can’t even explain how excited I am. The goalie dove and I shot it over her.”
The team from Section VI completed their grinding journey edging Section III’s Skaneateles Lakers, 5-4, in the final at HarborCenter.
It’s Section VI’s second state title in girls hockey after FLOP won last season.
“I give the girls all the credit,” Williamsville coach Rick Hopkins said. “It’s been a long road and I’m glad it finally ends with a state championship. The girls just believed in themselves. Once we got the sectional title we said ‘we’re not stopping.’”
How It Happened
Williamsville took the lead early in the second period only to have it taken away a minute later.
Ella Huntly poked the puck in for Williamsville. Megan Teachout backhanded a goal in for the Lakers to tie the game with 13:16 left in the period.
Emma Roland had a fantastic breakaway opportunity that was turned aside. However, the Williamsville forwards crashed the net and about 20 seconds after the stop on Roland, Huntley knocked in her second goal.
Skaneateles answered back a few minutes later. Rebecca Cain threw the puck toward the Williamsville crease and slipped it in underneath the netminder, tying the game at two going into the third period.
Williamsville took advantage of a 5-on-3 opportunity when Elisabeth Sidorski’s shot from the point was deflected into the net to regain the lead for her team early in the third.
Less than a minute later, Huntley put Williamsville in the driver seat, completing her hat-trick and giving the hometown team a two-goal lead with twelve minutes left.
The Lakers, again, answered back and worked to the tie the game up.
Teachout stole the puck in the Williamsville zone and stickhandled around a defender for her second goal of the game to bring her team within one with 7:05 to go.
The tying goal for Skaneateles came a few moments later when they crashed the net, allowing Campbell Torrey to poke it in and force overtime.
Despite losing a two-goal lead in the third period, Williamsville never seemed to falter and came out as focused as ever in the overtime period.
“Before we got out there, we got in a circle,” Sidorski said of her team just before the overtime. “A circle is unbreakable. We have a bond – it’s special. We went out there and we knew we had it. We just had to work for four periods and we did.”
Williamsville will be back in action on Tuesday when they face HEWS in the WNY Girls Federation Quarterfinals. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. at Northtown Center.
“I don’t think it’s ever going to set in,” Cavalieri said. “It’s unbelievable what just happened tonight. It’s one of the best moments of my life.”
The Sgroi Financial LLC Post-Game Interviews from the NYSPHSAA Girls Ice Hockey Regional Championship gameWilliamsville wins thier first state title with a 5-4 overtime victory over Skaneateles-Jenna Cavalieri-Elisabeth Sidorski -Emma Roland-Coach Rick Hopkins
Posted by WNY Athletics on Saturday, February 9, 2019