Prior to the game, Kenmore/GI coach Jeff Orlowski challenged Hannah Gallivan to do more. To handle her role as a senior captain the way it should be by making a difference.
Gallivan took her coach’s words to heart and did exactly what he asked her to do. She made a difference.
Gallivan scored twice, including the game-winner with 17 seconds remaining overtime, as Kenmore/Grand Island topped Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association, 3-2, in WNY Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Federation action that was played at North Buffalo Rink, Thursday afternoon.
“It feels really good,” Gallivan said, seconds after coming off of the ice. “Before the game Orlowski kind of called me out and said I need to step up. I need to play as hard as I can, and that’s what I did. It was a great pass from out of the corner by Nina (Stockman).”
Gallivan, anticipating a pass from teammate Nina Stockman, drifted into the slot. But as the puck arrived on her stick so did a mass of humanity. Gallivan let her shot go and it slipped passed MMAA goalie Makenna Walp.
“I just knew that I had to get it off my stick quick because there was only 20 seconds left and there were three girls coming at me,” Gallivan said. “I knew the goalie was screened so I just tried to throw it at the net.”
Orlowski could not help but smile when he talked about how Gallivan answered the call tonight.
“She had a hell of a game. She wanted this one,” Orlowski said. “She’s tired. She dug deep. I was gonna sit her that shift and she said no I wanna play. That’s what you need out of your senior leadership.”
Monsignor Martin struck first as Ellie Cleary brought the puck up and fired what initially seemed to be a harmless shot at the Kenmore/GI net. But the puck caught just inside the far post just under two minutes into the game.
Gallivan would tie it at 1-1 two-and-half minutes later and Olivia Smith gave Kenmore/GI the lead with 4:49 left in the first period when she broke into the MMAA zone and lifted the puck over Walp’s shoulder for the 2-1 lead.
The second period saw Monsignor Martin sustain a tremendous amount of pressure in the DevilsDogs end, keeping them hemmed in and creating chance after chance and shot after shot.
But Kenmore/GI’s 7th grade goalie Ellie Simmons was up to the challenge as she held the potent Monsignor Martin offense off the board for the entire period. In all, Simmons stopped 39 of the 41 shots that she faced.
“For a 7th grader to stand out like that is pretty huge. Ellie gives us chance to win every night. The first goal she let in was a little on the weaker side and I turned to our bench and said come on. You owe this to Ellie! She’s been bailing you out game in and game out,” Orlowski said. “They were like you know what that’s what we’re gonna do. We scored two quick ones and got the lead and I felt comfortable.”
It looked as if Kenmore/GI’s one goal lead would stand until Sophie Robinson poked the puck passed Simmons with 5:20 left in regulation. Now standing at 8-4-2 even though their effort didn’t translate into a deserved win, head coach Linda Groff thinks he team may have walked away with something greater than the win. A better sense of who they are as a team. Groff said that this year’s team may have been putting so much pressure on themselves to match what last years team did by winning the Fed title with an unbeaten record that the aspect of having fun was lost. Tonight, the way they played together, showed that the fun was back.
“It was unfortunate for us to not come out on the winning side, but I walked into the locker room and the girls. The demeanor that they had after a loss like this it was completely different from the demeanor after the (1-0) win against Lancaster (Tuesday),” Groff said. “The girls all had their heads up. They were talking to each other and it was a real positive vibe in there. So maybe we turned the corner with our team today.”
Kenmore/GI, which is now 3-0 in overtime, improved to 7-8 on the season.