LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — Following the Kenmore/Grand Island girls hockey team’s loss in the state playoffs last season, coach Jeff Orlowski was consoled by his returning leaders.
“There’s nothing to be down about coach,” Orlowski recalled them saying. “We’ll be back here next year.”
The girls backed up their statement and booked a return trip to the NYSPHSAA semifinals, as Kenmore/Grand Island/Lockport won the Section VI championship with a 4-0 victory against Niagara County on Monday night.
In the first of two championship games at Cornerstone Arena in Lockport, the combined Monsignor Martin team defeated St. Mary’s 2-0 to win its second consecutive private schools title.
Ken/GI/Port was the top team in the Western New York Girls Ice Hockey Federation with a 15-1 record and won its seventh sectional title in 12 years. The local champions will play in the state semifinal at 8 p.m. Friday in Utica against Section III representative Clinton, which Ken/GI/Port beat 2-1 at home earlier this season.
“Our possibilities are endless,” said championship game MVP Carolyn Bourgeault, a Ken West senior who made 19 saves in her ninth shutout of the season. “If we play our game, we can beat anyone.”
Senior co-captain Emiliana Cassillo (KW) set up Isabella Jayme (GI) and Madison Flory (GI) for goals 23 seconds apart in the first period. Jayme scored again in third period, and eight-grader Kiley Tumbull (KE) added a power-play goal late.
“It feels really good,” said Orlowski, after coaching in his 258th game, a WNYGVIHF record. “It’s the first time in a long time that we’ve been favored to win. We’ve had a good year. … It’s been a pleasure to coach them. They can police themselves there. They all love each other. They’re great friends. It’s awesome. It really is an exciting thing. This is great tonight, but we have our eyes set on something we’ve had all year. That state title is what we’re looking for.”
Isabella Fedele (Mount Mercy) scored on a power play in the second period and Reece Honadle (Mount St. Mary) tipped in a late goal for Monsignor Martin in its season-ending victory. Ryann Honadle (MSM) had two assists and freshman goalie Kate Kelley (Sacred Heart) made 20 saves for the shutout.
“I’m very excited,” said Kelley, who started for Williamsville as an eighth-grader last season. “It was a lot of fun and I really like the team this year.”
Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.