Weekly Feature



2018-02-08 / Sports

LID girls hockey falls in the sectional semi

by TAYLOR NIGRELLI Reporter


Jeanette Szefler of Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew finds the back of the net from the blue line on a slap shot during the team’s 6-1 victory over Kenmore/Grand Island in the quarterfinal round of the Section VI playoffs Thursday. 
Photo by Jake French Jeanette Szefler of Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew finds the back of the net from the blue line on a slap shot during the team’s 6-1 victory over Kenmore/Grand Island in the quarterfinal round of the Section VI playoffs Thursday. Photo by Jake French The Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew girls’ hockey team got an impressive win over Kenmore/ Grand Island in the quarterfinal round of the Section VI playoffs Thursday before falling to Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park in the semifinal round.

The team had lost to Kenmore/ Grand Island earlier in the week, 2-0, after defeating that team in the first two games between the teams.

Additionally, they were missing some players to injuries and illnesses. Defenders Anna Pitz and Cassie Borowski were both injured, as was goaltender Dylan Gorski.

Mackenzie Walkowiak stepped into net and performed well. Meanwhile, Morganne Dee went back on defense for the game.

“We had already played them earlier in the week,” Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew coach Pete Tonsoline said. “That might have given them a false security that they had figured us out. When you’re a four or five seed, you’re going to be so close that either team could beat the other. We were quite confident heading into the game and the girls felt good. We had some problems – we only had three healthy defenders going into the game.”

Kenmore opened scoring in the game, perhaps adding to their feeling of confidence. That would not last, as Jersey Phillips scored four goals to lead the team to a 6-1 win. It was the culmination of a stellar second half of the season for the team. After starting 1-6, they went 6-3-1 over their next 10 games. That was with no seniors and very few juniors.

“The way we’ve played recently, I think, has made other teams in the league take notice,” Tonsoline said. “We were down in the bottom of the standings and started moving up. When you do that, you can play loosey-goosey because no one expects for you to be good. That got us really close. It was a very good win. Kenmore had been a nemesis for us and other teams in the league. They ruled the roost for a few years with Lauren Pray, and Olivia Smith managed OK last year. They were right in the mix every year.”

The team’s sectional playoff run came to an end Monday when the team lost 5-1 to Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park. The top-seeded FLOP has as much talent as any team in the area.

“Going into the game, we had a chance, but we were going against a top team,” Tonsoline said. “They had beaten us three times this year. They had beat us by four or five goals, and we lost the last one 3-2. They have some older kids than us. They have the Kromer sisters, who can mostly score whenever they want. They have a big, strong forwards and Brooke Becker on defense. We had a lot on our plate. We had everyone back, but they were not 100 percent. The girls who were back were getting over their illnesses still and not at the top of their game. Gorski was out again for us. She was a ninth-grade goalie, she has a little more experience, she’s a little bit taller. But she was out again, so we had Mackenzie play.”

The team still has the Federation playoffs left to play, starting next week. No matter how the season finishes, the team has a lot to be proud of. The girls had more wins than they had in a few years. The girls are still young and could be at the start of a multi-year run.

“We showed big improvement when we started playing more like a team,” Tonsoline said. “The girls started playing with more confidence. They enjoyed not just the winning but playing well in games that we lost. When you walk off the ice, you want to be able to say you played a good game, even if you lost. Wins and losses become not that critical. You can’t judge a good performance by winning. We lost games where we played the best game of our season. Plus, we won games where we played so-so. We gave it a good shot; the girls felt that way after the game.”

email: tnigrelli@beenews.com 

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