By Dave Ricci
Special to The News
FLOP has completed the trifecta.
Haylee Tatar scored the game-winner Sunday as the team representing Frontier-Lake Shore-Orchard Park topped Clarence-Amherst-Sweet Home (CASH), 3-1, to win the WNY Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Federation title at HarborCenter, completing the championship triple play for FLOP this season.
The Fed championship adds on to FLOP’s repeat championship in the Section VI playoffs and the State Public Schools title won against Section X Salmon River two weeks ago in Oswego. That was the first time a Section VI team won the girls state title.
“Just a lot of emotions right now,” FLOP coach Bob Klimowicz said as he struggled to compose himself.
“These girls, they’ve been unbelievably focused all year. We’re a family. We talk about (having) three sets of sisters – this whole team is a family. They treat the seventh-grader with just as much respect as the 12th-graders. That’s what I’m so proud about with these girls. They’re good student-athletes who work their tails off and they deserve this.”
Each side won once and the third game was a tie in the season series between the teams, so the title game was as close as it was expected to be. CASH struck first when Casey Adimey snuck a perfectly placed shot by Tori Cottrell. FLOP didn’t wait long to get it back as Emily and Mary Kromer set up
Jessica Peters’ goal 43 seconds into the second period. Peters added an empty net goal later.
“Coming into the game we were all a little bit nervous because we just won states and Section VI, so we knew we needed to come out and win the third one,” Tatar said. “Once we started playing, the nerves (vanished) and we just started playing our FLOP hockey. In the third period we just came out ready to go and ready to win the game.”
The win was especially satisfying for FLOP goalie Tori Cottrell, who looked on from the bench as her goalie partner Maggie Spyche carried the load in the state and sectional title games.
“It meant everything to me,” Cottrell said of the starting assignment on Sunday.
“It’s my dream.”
Cottrell stopped 16 of the 17 shots she faced, including at least four key saves when the game was deadlocked at 1-1.
The final result was obviously heartbreaking for CASH, which appeared in its first-ever title game.
But CASH coach Nicola Adimey said her girls can be satisfied that they left it all on the ice.
“Overall they skated hard, they tried. They were there for each other,” Adimey said. “It was a close game til the end. That’s all we can ask for.”