WNY Athletics

WNY Girls Fed Championship – Media Day

Photo by Janet Schultz / NY Hockey Online

For the third straight year the WNY Girls Federation championship will be played downtown at the HarborCenter this weekend as part of Super Sunday. Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park (FLOP) have won the Fed championship the previous two seasons and will be favored to win their third when they face Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew (LID); puck drop is 7pm.

FLOP (15-2-1) dispatched Niagara County 9-1 back on February 12th in the opening round, their first game after losing the Section VI championship to Williamsville. Two nights later they defeated Kenmore/Grand Island 1-0 in the semifinals to secure their spot in this year’s event.

Head coach Bob Kilmowicz, now in his third season credited the league’s parity. “I’m impressed with how much talent just keeps coming up from the young girls,” Kilmowicz said. “I always say that Section VI is one of the best when it comes to hockey in the state.”

LID (9-8-1) is making their second appearance in the finals since the league began 9 seasons ago. Lancaster/Iroquois played in the Fed championship back in 2014, before Depew joined in.

Tonsoline and assistant Scott Santoro spoke on behalf of head coach Dave Santoro who, according to Rick Hopkins, was nursing a foot injury but fully expects to be back in time for puck drop Sunday.

Hopkins, the coach from Williamsville who recently led his team to the state title moderated Thursday’s media day press conference. Hopkins credited the Buffalo Beauts for shining a light on the women’s game and believe their success is helping not only participation numbers but in overall skill as well.

Photo by Janet Schultz / NY Hockey Online

Tonsoline knows that the girls program has come a long way since the league came about. “You girls have your own identity,” he said to the players on both teams in attendance but he was speaking to all clubs. “We fought hard for this many years ago; Randy and Janet (NY Hockey Online) and you girls deserve it. You’re a great credit to the game of hockey.”

The FLOP went 2-0 this season in head-to-head match-ups against LID but the games were very close. A big reason for that is due to the play of goaltender Dylan Gorski, a sophomore at Iroquois. Gorski has turned in back-to-back shutouts, stopping 27 shots in a 4-0 win over CASH and then 24 in a 2-0 win over Williamsville.

“It was kind of shocking to beat Williamsville,” Gorski said. Admittedly, she says there is pressure and plenty of nerves heading into the championship but once the puck drops she’ll be ready for business.

Jersey Phillips is one of the more well-known players in the league and a core member of this LID squad. She quarterbacks the power play but is a forward. Phillips spoke about the team’s confidence level heading into Sunday’s final, “I think we had a really good game against Williamsville and as long as we play our game we have a shot.”

For FLOP the recipe for success shouldn’t change much. Brooke Becker is just a junior but has accomplished so much already. This season she moved into 7th place on the all-time scoring list and she’s a defenseman. Becker has all the moves and quick decision making skills that make her a threat to score each shift.

Her teammates up front, Mary Kromer, Keegan Shanahan and Gabby Messing all finished in the top-15 in scoring. This is a team that feasts on the power play. Despite only registering one goal in their last outing, the FLOP offense is still the most dangerous in the league.

Gorski is more than capable of stealing a game and she proved that last Thursday. “We just have to come in with the right mindset and eliminate the extra shots in front, not give them those chances. We can do something great,” Gorski said.

Phillips (Depew) pumped in 25 goals during the regular season and added two more this post season.  Junior forward Bethany Horvatis (Iroquois) has three goals this post season including two in the win over Williamsville.

Looking at FLOP’s and LID’s overall records it may seem like a Cinderella story when talking about LID but looking back on their regular season they were much better than that record suggests.

This should be a very exciting game.


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