There was never a doubt.
Two goals midway through the first period by Isabella Jayme and Emiliana Cassillo and tallies by Isabella Jayme and Riley Marrale in the third were all that
Kenmore/Grand Island/Lockport needed to repeat as sectional champions and take home their seventh crown since 2012.
“This feels really good. First time in a long time that we’ve been favored to win so it’s been a good year,” coach Jeff Orlowski said. “I’m blessed to have good athletes and it’s not real hard to coach if you have athletes like I have.
“It’s been a pleasure to coach them. They can police themselves, they all love each other and they’re great friends. It’s awesome to be around them.”
The second goal by Cassillo in particular was a boon for Orlowski’s squad. She had been mired in a four-game scoring slump and her goal just 23 seconds after Jayme’s was the moment where Orlowski knew his team would emerge victorious.
“I kept telling Cassillo the reason you’re so good is your defense,” Orlowski said. “She just steps up her game and just plays out of her mind. She backchecks as hard as anyone and that’s translated into scoring. She’s a big part of why we’re here today.
“All year I’ve been telling them the first two minutes after a goal is big. Whether you score it or whether you get scored on the next two minutes are huge and it couldn’t have worked out any better. I hated to see the Sabres lose the other night to Calgary but there were three goals scored in two minutes and I circled the three goals, sent it to the whole team and I said ‘This is what happens in two minutes.’ They just know once we score we’re going right back because that minute and a half to two minutes after a goal is the best time to beat somebody.”
Additionally, goaltender Carolyn Bourgeault – the WNYGVIHF’s Player of the Year and the game’s Most Valuable Player – came up with a shutout and Orlowski said that her calmness in net is the team’s foundation.
“Carolyn’s been our wall all year and I’m not shocked that she would rise to the occasion,” Orlowski said. “She’s been our starter for the past five or six years and she works so hard. Even in practice, she doesn’t want pucks in the net. She’s just amazing.
“When you have a goalie back there like that you can take chances. You watch the way our defense plays, our defensemen are told to step up because if other teams get through we know Carolyn will stop the breakaway, so she’s been the reason we win. Defense wins championships and we pride ourselves on that.”
The team’s season isn’t over, however. Kenmore/Grand
Island/Lockport will face Clinton in the next round in Utica on Friday night and has their sights on a prize that is bigger than a sectional championship.
“At the end of last year, we lost the state semifinals and Cassillo, Maddie Flory and Carolyn were in the lobby of the hotel. And I said, ‘Oh man, that was a really tough one to take’ and they said ‘Coach there’s nothing to be down about, we’ll be back there next year.’ And that’s been their goal all year. This is great tonight, but we’ve had our eyes set on something we’ve had all year, and that’s the state title.
“We’ve played Clinton once already. They’re a really good team and we know we can play with them. It’s survive and advance right now.”
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