Photo Credit: Janet Schultz / NY Hockey Online
Kaylynn Savoy scored a natural hat trick as Kenmore/Grand Island (KenGI) scored a 7-2 win over Niagara County (NiCo) in WNY Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Federation action that was played at Lincoln Arena, Tuesday evening.
It was the first win of the season for the young KenGI squad which lost its season opener last Tuesday against defending state champion, FLOP.
“My girls came out ready to play today,” KenGI coach Jeff Orlowski said.
“They wanted it. Soon as they scored the first one they got hungry and wanted more.”
KenGI struck early and often as Savoy’s hat trick highlighted her team’s 4-0 first period lead.
“The first one was really important because we didn’t score any the last game,” Savoy said of the quick start, “Once we got going we started making greater plays.”
Orlowski praised Savoy’s effort and said the goals were a reward for a kid who puts in the work every day.
“I’m real proud of her,” he said. “She’s probably the hardest worker on our team. Every practice she’s the first one on the ice and the last one to come off.”
But Orlowski was also impressed by what he saw from the expansion Niagara County squad (0-4) who showed no quit.
To their credit NiCo, which had just come off of a devastating 13-1 loss to LID (Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew) on Monday, could have packed it in when they fell behind early to KenGI. But they didn’t. They continued to show a sense of compete and even managed to throw a scare into KenGI with back-to-back goals by Natalie O’Brien and Amanda Jackson 19 seconds apart in the third period. Cutting the deficit to 6-2.
Niagara County head coach Greg Grosskopf said that his girls have to realize they have a tall task in front of them as newcomers to the WNY Girls Fed – which many consider to be the best league in the state. That they can’t judge progress based solely on wins and losses. They have to view the big picture and realize it’s a step-by-step journey.
“We always say win every period. We won the third and that’s something to build off of. Winning one period at a time,” Grosskopf said. “It’s gonna change the season if we keep winning period after period. Those will start building and we’ll start winning games. We battled really hard today. I thought that this was the first time in a while we skated really hard the whole game.”
Grosskopf credited the frank talk his captains gave after the loss to LID. Grosskopf said things turned around because his leaders, in no uncertain terms, said their effort against LID was unacceptable.
NiCo is seeing that progress is measured by daily improvement. Doing little things right. And it all starts with showing that sense of battle and willingness to prove they aren’t a pushover.
“It’s our first year playing so if we give up against these teams then the rumor is gonna spread that you can just walk all over us,” Niagara County’s Jordan Pearson said.
“We don’t want that reputation. We want to hear that we’re a strong team and we don’t give up.”
KenGI received a strong game from senior Jaclyn MacVittie who set up McKenna Horne’s opening goal of the game. And by senior Abby Blair (goal/assist) who was key in KenGI maintaining a wave of consistent offensive pressure.
What has made things even more challenging for NiCo is the fact that their schedule is front loaded. So they haven’t had any quality practice sessions to work on fine tuning their game.
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