Weekly Feature



2013-12-11 / Sports

Amherst/Sweet Home girls hockey matures

by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter


Amherst/Sweet Home’s Missy Mallon faces off against Williamsville during the team’s 6-4 season-opening win Nov. 21 at the Northtown Center at Amherst. Mallon is a team captain and a returning Federation and All-Bee First Team All-star. 
Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Amherst/Sweet Home’s Missy Mallon faces off against Williamsville during the team’s 6-4 season-opening win Nov. 21 at the Northtown Center at Amherst. Mallon is a team captain and a returning Federation and All-Bee First Team All-star. Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com The Amherst/Sweet Home Federation girls ice hockey team — collectively known as the Katz — was less than a second away from knocking off the Monsignor Martin Association in the WNY Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Federation semifinals last year. The MMA went on to win the Federation title and finish 20-0.

Head coach Nicola Adimey — who served as an assistant coach last year — said the game proved to her that the team is capable of beating anybody.

“Everyone was devastated in the locker room but they finally realized that we are just as good as anybody else,” Adimey said.

Adimey said there are a lot of talented returning players from last year’s 7-11-2 team, led by senior captains Missy Mallon and Maddie Grisko, both cornerstones of the team since the league began in 2010. Both are returning Federation First Team All-stars. Mallon was also a First Team All-Bee selection; Grisko was a Second Team recipient.

Mallon, who led the team with 16 goals — tied for fifth in the league and 22 assists — second in the league — will center the top line.

“Missy is such a force,” Adimey said. “She’s such a great skater and forecheck, score and backcheck. She never gives up.”

Grisko anchors the defense.

“She’s very skilled and fast and loves to rush the puck to see if she can score goals,” Adimey said. “She’s a hard worker.”

The other three starting defensemen are returning eighth-graders Casey Adimey, Renee Lauer and Nicole Moore.

The defense will be backed up by junior goalie Maddie Aston, who had never played hockey until last year and had to fill in during the Federation semifinals because of an injury to the regular starter.

“She’s very athletic,” Adimey said. “She is a great softball player. She worked hard over the summer to get better, attended clinics and played on other teams to gain experience. If you see her in the net now, you can’t believe that she started playing hockey last year.”

The team’s other center is senior Katelyn Koester, a four-year player.

Other returning forwards are seniors Melissa Goodman and Brianna Stressinger, sophomore McKenna Rushford (All-Federation Honorable Mention) and freshman Julia Mings. Goodman, Stressinger and Rushford are four-year players.

Seventh-grade forwards Kylie Nelson and Charleigh Rondeau make their debuts with the team.

Coach Adimey thinks the league will be very competitive and that has been true in the team’s first three games.

Amherst/Sweet Home lost at Nichols – new school in the league – 4-1 Nov. 19, beat Williamsville for the first time ever, 6-4, Nov. 21 at the Northtown Center at Amherst and lost to Kenmore, 5-2, Thursday at the Northtown Center at Amherst.

Amherst/Sweet Home built a 2-0 lead against Williamsville but needed short-handed goals from Mallon and Rondeau to tie the game at 4-4.

Mings came out of the penalty box and scored the game-winning goal. Koester added an empty-net goal. Rushford added two goals.

Rushford scored the team’s lone goal against Nichols and Rushford and Mings tallied against Kenmore.

Coach Adimey is seeing improvement from her team in every practice and game.

“Some of these kids play in house and travel leagues so you can’t expect them all to be on the same level,” she said. “Every game and practice we are getting on the same page.”

Previous head coach James Ryan is an assistant coach.

Amherst/Sweet Home (1-3) returns to action against Lancaster/ Iroquois at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Northtown Center at Amherst.

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