It wasn’t shaping up as originally planned, but the four team mini tournament this weekend involved are pushing through after a reset.

Niagara County and Kenmore/Grand Island were scheduled to co-host a four team tourney at Cornerstone Arena in Lockport this weekend.

The original schedule had included both Section VII Plattsburgh and Section I East in a round robin tourney where an eventual champion would be crowned.

But with Plattsburgh having unexpectedly pulled out, Clarence/Amherst/Sweet Home better known as CASH came through to fill the void. Crisis averted.

While taking home a trophy would certainly be a plus for either KenGI or NiCo the real payoff of the weekend was to test themselves against teams from otherย  sections.

So the games against East carries even more importance.

“They are the representative from Section I. There’s only two teams there and I think this is the better of the two. One of them is coming from Section I to face Section VI at states,” said KenGI coach Jeff Orlowski.

“NiCo and us are probably two of the better teams this year ย so it would have been nice to have a nice tournament this year. Especially with Plattsburgh being their section champ two years ago with a young team.”

The tourney was the brainchild of Orlowski and NiCo assistant Mike Dunlap.

“Instead of just doing normal scrimmage games or non-league games against all these schools we thought maybe we’d do a little tournament and maybe showcase some of the talent around here and some of the talent in New York hockey,” said NiCo coach Greg Groskopf.

Since East will have two games and the two Section VI squads will get one games each the format to determine an overall champion will be changed.

Speaking of Niagara County, the Lady Warriors got the measure of revenge they were searching for when they beat HEWS, 4-1, last Wednesday.

The Warriors have a had chip on their shoulders ever since HEWS beat them in sectionals last season. Needless to say this was the first game the NiCo girls circled when the schedule came out.

“Going into the game everyone was extremely hyped as captains Skylar (Berube) and I made sure every single girl understood the importance of beating this team and what it meant for the girls who were on the team last year,” said NiCo senior Kayla Persinger, who had two goals.

“Every girl worked hard for the girl next to her every shift until the final buzzer winning that game felt like we evened the score and got the redemption we were looking for. I know we are excited too play them again at our home rink because it is always a good game between the two teams.”

Paige Spatarico scored the game winner and Madison Mallone kicked in three points of her own. Niagara County enters the new week at 2-1.

KenGI is still trying to find it’s groove. Defense and goal tending has been top notch as expected as they have yielded just four goals in three games. Offensively they’ve been a little snake bit when it comes to finishing chances. But Orlowski said he has been pleased and encouraged by the fact his girls have been dominating play. They’re are creating chances and shots on goal. It’s just a matter of them remaining confident until the puck start a going in on a regular basis.

“Like always we’re just trying to get better as the year goes,” said Orlowski. “We don’t wanna peak in December. We want to peak in February.”

HEWS Kathryn O’Brien comes into the new week leading the Fed in points 7 and assists with 5.

CASH’s Allison Greene leads the league with 5 goals.

Game of the Week

KenGI at MonMar, Thursday, 4:30 @ North Buffalo Rink.

This game pits arguably the two best goalies-Carolyn Bourgeault ย (KenGI) and Sophia Will (MonMar)-in the league against each other.

Also features an interesting matchup of KenGI’s top defensive-forward Carissa Buyea who will be shadowing Mia Boyd.

WNYAthletics.com will be livestreaming Thursday afternoon at Northtown Center (CASH vs St. Mary’s).

IMAGES COURTESY OF JANET SCHULTZ/NYHOCKEYONLINE

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