The WNY Girls Federation Hockey League season came and went in the blink of an eye. It ended in an all too familiar way however for the Williamsville girls as they clinched their third straight title defeating Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew (LIDs) 5-2 at the Cornerstone Ice Arena.
Freshman Kiersten Smith (Williamsville North) scored two goals including the game winner and junior Vanessa Willick (Williamsville East) added three assists in the victory.
“Even though it was a shortened season, it was still really nice to finish as Section champs,” Willick said.
Williamsville was outshot 10-3 in the opening period, but two of those shots found the back of the net. Smith and senior Ellie Schau (Williamsville East) scored just forty-two seconds apart late in the first. Williamsville never trailed in this game but LIDs made things interesting in the third period.
“Scoring those two early goals in the first period seems to be our signature this season”, coach Rick Hopkins said postgame. “Dylan (Gorski) is as good as they get in our league, she is certainly capable of stealing a game, really difficult to beat. Being up 2-0 at the end of one really helped our girls confidence. Our seniors especially were very focused and relaxed and that seem to trickle down throughout the team.”
While trailing 5-0, LIDs sophomore Sydney Radecki (Lancaster) and senior Hailey Keppner (Iroquois) tightened things up scoring just a little over two minutes apart. Unfortunately for LIDs though time was not on their side and Williamsville was able to regroup and kill the remaining time before closing this one out.
Morganne Dee (LIDs) who recently reached the 100-point plateau was held to just one assist. The Williamsville defense did a very good job of keeping down Dee’s scoring chances.
After the win, Schau was reflecting on some of her former teammates who helped lay the foundation for their success “The Roland sisters (Emma and Erin) really showed us how hard we had to work, every practice, every game,” Schau said. “They really passed the torch not just too the captains but to each girl on this team. I told the girls just to go out and have fun. Win or lose we have to have fun. We know Dylan is a great goalie and they’re just a great all around team and we just needed to get shots to the net.”
Senior Elizabeth Timby (Williamsville North) stopped 21 shots to preserve the win.
“We had a couple of tough losses during the year but they adjusted and we took a good run in the playoffs but we couldn’t be more prouder of the job these girls did,” LIDs head coach Kevin Miller said after the game. “We couldn’t be more prouder of what they accomplished this year, certainly with Covid and getting to the championship game.”
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic NYSPHSAA suspended the state championship tournament. The sectional finals concludes the 2021 season.
Randy Schultz of NYHockeyonline.com was honored during the 2nd intermission with the the Dr. James Rusin Memorial Award for 2021. The award is presented annually to an individual (or individuals) for their efforts and commitment in promoting high school girls hockey. Schultz was working on the evenings broadcast with former WGRZ on-air personality Stu Boyar.