Weekly Feature



2012-12-05 / Sports

Williamsville Federation girls ice hockey team loaded with depth, experience

by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter


Williamsville’s Amanda Gaffney, center, and Amherst/Sweet Home’s Renee Lauer, right, skate for a loose puck during Williamsville’s 4-2 win Thursday on the Northtown Center at Amherst Feature Rink. Also pictured in the photo are, far left, Amherst/Sweet Home’s Melissa Goodman, Williamsville’s Caroline Soh and Amherst/Sweet Home’s Brianna Stressinger. 
Photo by Patrick McPartlandPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Williamsville’s Amanda Gaffney, center, and Amherst/Sweet Home’s Renee Lauer, right, skate for a loose puck during Williamsville’s 4-2 win Thursday on the Northtown Center at Amherst Feature Rink. Also pictured in the photo are, far left, Amherst/Sweet Home’s Melissa Goodman, Williamsville’s Caroline Soh and Amherst/Sweet Home’s Brianna Stressinger. Photo by Patrick McPartlandPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com There are only three seniors on the Williamsville Federation girls ice hockey team, but that does not mean the squad lacks experience.

Twenty-three of the 27 players on the roster have competed in some form of travel hockey. Fourteen players on the roster are varsity newcomers.

“It’s the best lineup we have had as far as depth,” Williamsville coach Rick Hopkins said. “It’s a good problem to have. We have 23 travel players but for a handful of them, it’s their first time playing varsity hockey. We have a lot of sophomores and juniors, but many of them saw regular ice time for the first two years we have had a team.”

Williamsville is led by senior captains Cassandra Hopkins, a forward from Williamsville South, Caroline Soh, a defenseman from Williamsville East, and junior assistant captain Rachel Grampp, a defenseman from South. Hopkins is a returning All-Federation Honorable Mention selection.

Cassandra Hopkins, daughter of coach Rick Hopkins, is a strong two-way player who will serve as the team’s top checker, and center the team’s second forward line with South junior Emily Martin and speedy Mill Middle School eighth-grader Leah Czerwinski.

“Cassandra is a solid two-way hockey player that creates a lot in the offensive zone, sees the ice well and is hustling all of the time,” coach Hopkins said.

Hopkins said Soh, a three-year varsity player, is a strong skater who has a good defensive mind and is a good leader on the power play and penalty kill. Soh is paired on defense with East junior newcomer Laura Finley.

Grampp spent her freshman and sophomore years playing defense for Nichols.

“She’s a great addition to the team,” coach Hopkins said. “She’s probably one of the top players in the league. She’s strong on her skates, has the hardest slap shot in the three years we have had a team and plays at both ends of the ice extremely well. She makes everyone around her better.”

Grampp is valuable on offense, recording a goal and assist in Williamsville’s 4-2 win over Amherst/Sweet Home Thursday at the Northtown Center at Amherst, and a goal and three assists in the team’s 9-0 shutout over West Seneca Friday at the West Seneca Town Rink.

Grampp is paired on defense with East freshman Samantha Gaffney.

The other senior on the roster is East’s Becca Searns, who centers Williamsville’s third forward line of East freshman Emma Hubert and potentially seventh-grader Amanda Gaffney.

Williamsville’s top forward line is East sophomore Jordan Roetzer centering East sophomore Sarah Scolnick and East freshman Lexi Skibitsky.

“Jordan and Sarah have been playing on the top line for the past two years,” coach Hopkins said. “Both work well together. Sarah has tremendous speed and uses that to get good separation and puts a lot of pressure on the other team’s defense. Jordan is strong and is a good playmaker and finisher. Lexi skated with them a little last year. They look like our top scoring line.”

Williamsville’s fourth forward line is composed of all varsity newcomers, South freshman Carly Gambacorta centering North freshmen Olivia Rutkowski, Sarah Mietus or Farrell Garrity, who can also play defense.

Another defensive pairing is North junior Emily Burow with South sophomore Lily Markley.

East junior Theresa Moesky, a returning Federation Honorable Mention, is the team’s starting goalie. She is off to a good start, recording 23 saves for Amherst/Sweet Home and 21 stops against West Seneca.

“She’s one of the top goalies in the league,” coach Hopkins said. “She is good in net with her angles and rebound control. She does not get riled up, she is very focused, which is probably her greatest attribute.”

North freshman Mary Crumlish and Heim Middle School eighth-grader Ally Hogan are the backup goalies.

Williamsville jumped out to big leads in both of their opening victories, scoring twice in the first 5.5 minutes against Amherst/Sweet Home and building a 4-0 lead five minutes into the second period, and taking a 2-0 lead over West Seneca after the first period.

Scolnick, assisted by Grampp, scored on a breakaway to open Williamsville’s scoring against Amherst/Sweet Home 1:30 into the game.

Four minutes later, Scolnick fed the puck to Grampp at the blue line, who let go a blistering slap shot go that Amherst/Sweet Home goalie Kara Rea got a piece of, but it went into the net.

Williamsville stretched the lead to 3-0 on the last shift of the first period, when Martin scored off of a feed from Cassandra Hopkins and Czerwinski.

Scolnick extended the lead to 4-0 with a breakaway five minutes into the second period.

Amherst/Sweet Home battled back with a slap shot by Maddy Grisko, assisted by Missy Mallon, with 2.5 minutes remaining in the second period, and Mallon tipped in a hard slap shot from Grisko 20 seconds into the third period.

Meosky made 23 saves, including two breakaways. Rea recorded 32 saves for Amherst/Sweet Home.

Burow scored a hat trick against West Seneca. She scored 1.5 into the game on a pass from East freshman Danila Casseri, added a second goal 10 minutes later and completed her hat trick with 7.5 minutes remaining in the game on a wrist shot the eluded the West Seneca goalie to the short side of the net.

East freshman Adrianna Williams and Searns both earned assists on Burow’s third goal.

Williamsville tallied four times in the second period. Hubert scored on a rebound from a slap shot from the point from Grampp. Cassandra Hopkins also was credited with the assist.

Grampp made it 4-0 with a low slap shot from the point through a screen at the 5:45 mark, assisted by Cassandra Hopkins.

A minute later, Scolnick scored on a breakaway. Roetzer later put in a rebound from a shot by Grampp. Scolnick also assisted on the goal.

Amanda Gaffney scored two minutes into the third period off a rebound from a slap shot by Grampp. Roetzer also recorded an assist.

Hubert closed out the scoring from Searns and Williams.

Williamsville outshot West Seneca, 37-21.

To continue the team’s success, coach Hopkins said his team must play good defense to support Meosky in net.

“Our strength starts in our own end,” he said. “We have a strong goalie and mature, experienced defensemen. I also have some defensemen who can score.”

If Williamsville, 11-7 last season, finishes as one of the top two public school teams in the regular season, they will play for a Section VI title Wednesday, Feb. 6.

The winner will have an opportunity to compete for a state championship against Section III, Section VII and Section X on Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9 in Canton.

The Federation playoffs begin with quarterfinals on Feb. 11, semifinals on Feb. 13 and finals on Feb. 15 at the Northtown Center at Amherst.

Coach Hopkins is assisted by Dalton Beaver, Tim Mondello and Amanda Nolan.

Williamsville 2012 Schedule
12-6 Kenmore (Northtown Center at
Amherst) ...................................... 3:50 p.m.

12-7 Lancaster (Northtown Center at
Amherst) ....................................... 3:50 p.m.
12-13 Orchard Park/Frontier (Nike Base) 4
p.m.
12-14 Amherst/Sweet Home (Northtown
Center at Amherst) .....................3:50 p.m.
12-20 Kenmore (Northtown Center at
Amherst) ....................................... 3:50 p.m.
1-3 Kenmore (Northtown Center at
Amherst) ...................................... 5:30 p.m.
1-4 Monsignor Martin Association (Northtown Center at Amherst) ..........5:30 p.m.
1-9 Orchard Park/Frontier (Northtown
Center at Amherst) .....................3:50 p.m.
1-10 Lancaster (Time Warner Classic Rink)
4 p.m.
1-16 Lancaster (Northtown Center at
Amherst) ....................................... 3:50 p.m.
1-17 West Seneca (Northtown Center at
Amherst) ........................................ 5:30 p.m.
1-21 Monsignor Martin Association (Cazenovia Park) ............................................ 7 p.m.
1-23 Amherst/Sweet Home (Northtown
Center at Amherst) .....................3:50 p.m.
1-24 Monsignor Martin Association (North
Buffalo) ........................................... 4:30 p.m.
1-31 West Seneca (Northtown Center at
Amherst) .........................................3:50 p.m.
2-5 Orchard Park/Frontier (Northtown
Center at Amherst) .....................3:50 p.m.

email: pnagy@beenews.com

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