Weekly Feature

2018-01-11 / Sports

Girls hockey team sitting atop league standings

Sports Reporter

Haylee Tatar of Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park gets a shot under a poke check attempt from Katelyn Morris of West Seneca/Eden/Hamburg. The teams skated to a 1-1 tie. 
Photo by Jake French Haylee Tatar of Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park gets a shot under a poke check attempt from Katelyn Morris of West Seneca/Eden/Hamburg. The teams skated to a 1-1 tie. Photo by Jake French The Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park girls hockey team has started this season much the way it ended the last one. After winning both the Section VI and Federation Championships, the FLOP is atop the league with a 7-1-2-1 record. The team has been far from perfect, but things have gone well thus far.

“At times, we’ve not been as detail oriented on defense as we should have been,” FLOP assistant coach Lucian Forcucci said. “That gets lost a bit in our team play offensively. We’re having some girls on offense trying to do more than they should. We have to share the puck more. We have to get those things back on track so we can be in a good position heading into playoffs.”

The team is 2-0-1-2 over its past five games, a stretch that started with an overtime loss to Williamsville in the outdoor rink at Riverworks. The game was tied 1-1 after regulation, with Brooke Becker scoring the lone goal. But Williamsville pulled it out in the extra period.

“We were tied going into overtime and they score,” Forcucci said. “It was a good game with two evenly matched teams. We just had a real bad bounce in overtime. There was nothing the defensemen or goalie could do.”

On Dec. 19, the team took on Clarence/Amherst /Sweet Home and skated to a 4-4 tie. The FLOP jumped out to a 4-1 lead on the strength of goals by Becker, Keegan Shanahan, Taylor Gehen and Reagan Compise.

“It was one of those games where we had real control of the game early and whatever reason, the girls just lost focus a little bit,” Forcucci said. “We were able to get a jump on them so fast and dominate early and they were able to chip away and make it a tight game. The girls just started squeezing their sticks a little bit. We couldn’t score and we came away with the tie.”

The team bounced back with a 4-3 home win over Kenmore/Grand Island. Becker had two goals and an assist. Jess Peters had a goal. Mary Kromer had a goal and an assist. The girls controlled play for nearly the entire game and then held on for the win.

“That was a good game for us. It was a little bit back and forth. We controlled play, but their goalie played well and they scored some timely goals. We were confident throughout the game. I think we held the lead the entire time.”

The offense continued to shine against Lancaster/Iroquois/ Depew as FLOP came away with a 7-4 victory. Kromer had a goal and an assist. Gabby DeMeo had a goal, as did Abby Lillis. Peters had two goals and Becker added a goal and two helpers.

“That was another game that we pretty much had control in throughout,” Forcucci said. “We were able to get all 20 skaters in and play everyone pretty evenly. We let up four goals so we want to clean up in the defensive zone a little bit. But that comes with trying to get everyone in the game and get everyone some varsity experience.

It’s sometimes harder to get them in games when we’re facing top teams.”

The offense continued to get opportunities in the following game against West Seneca/Eden/Hamburg, but just couldn’t get the puck in the back of the net. They outshot the opposition 70-24, but came away with a 1-1 tie.

“I think in the first period we didn’t play as aggressively as we normally do,” Forcucci said. “It was a 1-1 game early. In the second and third period we talked about playing to our full potential. We controlled play and pretty much put the puck down in their end. In the last two periods, we peppered their goalie with shots. Adriana Harman is their goalie, she used to play for us before she moved. She really stood on her head and made a ton of saves.”

Despite the slide, the team remains in first place and is in good shape heading into the final month of the regular season. The league has more parity than it has in recent years, meaning this could be an interesting month.

“If you look at the public schools, it’s us, Williamsville and Clarence/Amherst/Sweet Home. If you look at the league overall, Monsignor Martin is there too,” Forcucci said. “I like where we’re at. One thing we’re working to do is stay focused, game in and game out and play to our full potential. There is no split season for girls hockey, so they are playing a ton of hockey between high school and travel. They’re having their mental toughness challenged.”

email: tnigrelli@beenews.com

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