Weekly Feature



2018-02-14 / Sports

Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park girls hockey defeats Williamsville in section final

by TAYLOR NIGRELLI Reporter


Williamsville’s Samantha Ingham, top, looks to get the puck away from Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park’s Emily Kromer during the Section VI final Feb. 7 at the Northtown Center at Amherst Feature Rink. Williamsville lost 3-1. 
Photo by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Williamsville’s Samantha Ingham, top, looks to get the puck away from Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park’s Emily Kromer during the Section VI final Feb. 7 at the Northtown Center at Amherst Feature Rink. Williamsville lost 3-1. Photo by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Two power-play goals were the difference Wednesday when Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park won its second consecutive Section VI Girls Hockey Championship, 3-1, over Williamsville. FLOP would go on to win the New York State Championship, becoming the first Section VI team to win a girls hockey state title.

Wednesday’s sectional title game was dominated by whistles, as 17 total penalties were called, 10 of which went against FLOP. However, they were able to hold Williamsville on each penalty kill and scored two power play goals to break a tie in the third period.

“We pressured. We talked about not giving them the opportunity to set things up,” FLOP coach Bob Klimowicz said. “When the puck is on the boards, we’re pressuring you. If you try to go out in front, we’re pressuring you. Then we’re blocking shots. We didn’t let them take their time to set up and that was key.”

Williamsville opened the scoring just under nine minutes into the game when Ella Huntley scored off assists from Rachel Juneau and Kaylee Conover. FLOP tied things up with two minutes left in the period when Mary Kromer found her sister Emily in the slot, who banged it home for a goal.

After a physical, tightly played second period ended without a goal, FLOP started the third period on the power play. Kromer scored her second of the game again off a pass from her sister and Taylor Gehen.

“I really had the backing of my teammates and that’s what’s most important,” Kromer said. “On the ice and off the ice, they always had my back. Even my sister with those give-and-go passes, we’ve been working on that all season. I really like can’t even take credit for them. It was just a matter of positioning. If it was anyone else, it would have been the same outcome.”

After another Williamsville penalty, Gabby DeMeo caught a Serena Fitzery pass while moving left to right and put the puck in the upper right corner. The two power play goals came just after the team had been focusing on special teams in practice.

“If I was on the losing end, I’d be upset with how many penalties we took,” Klimowicz said. “I’m sure he’s upset with how many penalties they took. That’s not usual in a girls hockey game. A lot of times you don’t have a lot of time to work on your penalty kill and your power play. Our last practice we had the opportunity to do that. We changed things up going into the third period. We switched our power play. We banged one home right off the bat, so that was good obviously. I guess that intermission really helped us.”

FLOP tightened up on defense over the final 10 minutes of the game and prevented Williamsville from getting many chances. They led the final shot count 29-23, underscoring the defensive nature of the game.

“We knew it was going to be a very close, low-scoring game with them,” Williamsville coach Rick Hopkins said. “When you have as talented of teams as these two are and no one gets over 30 shots, that tells you how close this game was. We got good goaltending at both ends and they were able to capitalize on two power plays they had in the third. Hats off to their special teams, they got the job done. We certainly had our power play chances and weren’t able to capitalize. We hit a crossbar when we were up 1-0. If that goes in, maybe it changes the complexion of the game.”

FLOP is now the two-time defending sectional champions and the first-ever state champions from Section VI. They’ve been a force over the past two seasons, especially since adding Lake Shore to the fold, bringing the Kromer sisters in. The major role they played in the sectional final is an example of how vital they’ve been these past two years.

“We play travel together and high school,” Emily Kromer said. “We get to know each other really well. I really kind of forget that she’s my sister on the ice. We treat each other like teammates but we have each other’s backs like sisterly love when it comes to battles in the corner and everything.

“We definitely had an expectation to fill going into the game since we are the defending champions. That really was our motivation. Right now, our focus is ‘there’s no time to celebrate, we have to get right into states.’ I think last year was so new and so unknown. This year, we have everything planned out.”

Now that the state playoffs have ended, the teams will turn their attention to the Federation Playoffs. FLOP has a first-round bye and will play in the semi-finals Thursday against the lowest seed left. Williamsville will take on Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew Tuesday. The Monsignor Martin and Clarence/Amherst/Sweet Home teams could be tough challengers for the title.

“The Federation playoffs will be wide open,” Hopkins said. “There are so many good teams in this league. We were fortunate to get here. We played probably our best game of the season Monday night against Clarence/Amherst/Sweet Home to earn a shot here. It’s hard to get here and even harder to win. I’m proud of the effort the girls put in. The execution just wasn’t there tonight.”

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