Weekly Feature

2018-03-01 / Sports

FLOP completes championship trifecta with win over CASH

Sports Reporter

Jessica Peters fires a shot on net during her team’s 3-1 win over Clarence/Amherst/Sweet Home Sunday. She scored two goals in the victory, helping her team compete a trifecta of titles. 
Photo by Jake French Jessica Peters fires a shot on net during her team’s 3-1 win over Clarence/Amherst/Sweet Home Sunday. She scored two goals in the victory, helping her team compete a trifecta of titles. Photo by Jake French Winning a championship is an accomplishment that nearly every team at every level strives for. But winning three in one season? That’s practically unheard of.

The Frontier/ Lake Shore/Orchard Park girls hockey team completed the trifecta of titles – Section VI, New York State and Western New York Girls Hockey Federation – with a 3-1 victory over Clarence/Amherst Sweet Home Sunday at the Harbor- Center. They are the first team in Section VI history to win all three in one season.

“It was important,” FLOP coach Bob Klimowicz said. “It’s tough coming back off the high of the state championship. It’s tough coming back and trying to stay focused and this is just as important as our state championship. We look at our league as strong, whether it’s CASH, Williamsville or Monsignor Martin. You have to be ready to play, otherwise anybody could beat anybody on any given day. We wanted to finish the deal. It would have left that void in us if we didn’t finish it.”

FLOP used a strong defensive effort to earn the title, holding the league’s highest scoring team to just one goal and 17 shots in a low-scoring affair. FLOP was able to take away CASH’s top two weapons in Casey Adimey and Emma Faso, as the duo combined for just one goal.

“We had two people we were focusing on. One was Casey Adimey,” Klimowicz said. “I thought we did a great job on Emma Faso too. That was our goal. Going to the states and playing some high-tempo games against girls from across the state, we kind of had a little practice in what to do to shut down some of the players. Between the backcheck and closing the gap, our girls did great. Emma got a couple shots, you’re never going to keep a good player down. But we limited her shots and that was the key to the game.”

The strong FLOP defense prevented CASH’s offense from getting many shots in close to the net, seriously cutting down on the team’s scoring chances.

“We couldn’t get close enough to the net,” CASH coach Nicola Adimey said. “We had a few shots from the outside. As much as we talk about crashing the net, we really didn’t. Plus, they do have a strong defense. It was tough to get in. The goalie made a couple of saves. They were some good shots. The puck came out for a rebound a couple times, they had someone there.

CASH actually started off the scoring 9:24 into the first period when Adimey took advantage of a FLOP line change and rifled the puck past Tori Cottrell from about 15 feet out. Both defenses would clamp down from there, as the game featured just 39 total shots.

The teams went to the first intermission with a 1-0 CASH lead, but FLOP came out flying in the second as Jessica Peters scored just 41 seconds into the period. Mary Kromer passed to her sister Emily, who found Peters wide open on the left side of the net with practically the entire goal open. She caught the puck with her skate and fired it in for a goal.

“It was stuck in my feet a little bit so I was nervous I wouldn’t get it off,” Peters said. “But when I did, I was pretty pumped. It was right there, so if I would have missed it, it would have been an opportunity lost.”

Just as it had in last year’s and this year’s sectional final games, FLOP found itself tied 1-1 after two periods. After a series of near-misses by CASH were turned away by Cottrell, Haylee Tatar slid the puck into the net in an odd-looking, but effective goal for FLOP. Abby Lillis and Brooke Becker picked up the assists as FLOP took the lead for good.

“In between the second and third period, we had a discussion and we were like, you know we just have to put the pucks in the back of the net,” Becker said. “That’s exactly what we did so we were really happy.”

CASH went on the offensive after that, but struggled to get many good chances on a strong FLOP defense. In the final minute, they pulled the goaltender in a last-ditch attempt to tie the game. But Peters flipped the puck down the ice for a long empty-net goal.

“We have to give credit to them,” Klimowicz said. “They’re going to be a team to be reckoned with next year for sure. They’ve got a young team and they played hard. They did a couple things against us that kept that game close so I give them a lot of credit.”

CASH had quite a strong season, highlighted by defeating Monsignor Martin in overtime in the Federation quarterfinals to make the championship game. The team has never had trouble scoring, but this year’s squad was more well-rounded than in the past.

“I’m happy with this season. I can say I’m always proud at the end of the season,” Adimey said. “They have to play with conditions sometimes that the other teams don’t. This is the first year we’ve had a goalie from the beginning. We’ve played a skater who volunteered to play in net and we’ve always made it to semifinals. Most of the time we’re one of the highest-scoring teams. We usually have two players in the top five in scoring in the league, if not the top two. We always have two players make All-Western New York. This year we just had the whole package.”

The game was a culmination of a tremendous two-season run by FLOP. The program won two sectional titles, two Federation titles, played in two state championship games and won one of them. For those who have been with the program for years, it means even more.

“I think it is really cool,” Peters said. “I have been on the team since I was in seventh grade. This is the first time I’ve been to win states or anything like that. Finally, being able to do it with girls who have been on the team since I started is really cool.”

email: tnigrelli@beenews.com

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