Weekly Feature

2014-12-10 / Sports

Williamsville girls hockey fields largest roster in program’s five-year history

by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter

Jordan Roetzer of Williamsville fires a shot during the team’s 2-1 loss against Lancaster/Iroquois Thursday on the Northtown Center at Amherst Feature Rink. 
Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Jordan Roetzer of Williamsville fires a shot during the team’s 2-1 loss against Lancaster/Iroquois Thursday on the Northtown Center at Amherst Feature Rink. Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Williamsville’s Federation girls ice hockey team is not hurting for players for the 2014-15 season.

There are 27 players on the roster, the biggest roster in the five-year history of the team. There are 18 forwards and nine defensemen.

“We have a deep roster,” Williamsville coach Rick Hopkins said. “Everyone has been in the lineup.”

Hopkins said it also is the fastest team in program history.

“We get on top of teams with our forecheck and it helps with our backchecking and transition game as well,” he said. “Speed is nice to have and we are blessed with plenty of it.”

It’s also a young team, as the three seniors on the roster — Williamsville East’s Jordan Roetzer and Sarah Scolnick and Williamsville South’s Lilly Markley — are the team captains.

“It’s a small but experienced senior class,” Hopkins said. “All three are very talented and have good hockey and leadership skills.”

Hopkins said Markley, a four-year varsity member, is a steady blue line defenseman who takes care of the puck in the team’s zone and can push the puck up the ice. She also plays on power play and penalty kill.

Markley is paired on defense with eighth-grader Elizabeth Sidorski.

“Elizabeth reminds me of a young Rachel Grampp [graduated; team’s leading scorer last year],” Hopkins said. “It’s hard to believe she is only an eighth-grader. She plays within her game and sees the ice well. She has very good hockey IQ.”

Scolnick and Roetzer, returning All-Western New York second team and honorable mention selections, have played on the same forward line since the league began five years ago. Roetzer centers the line.

Shauna Clair - the other member of the forward line five years ago – is a volunteer assistant coach with the team.

“Both are very hungry to get back to a win a championship,” Hopkins said. “They won their first year and want to win one in their last year. Both have put a lot of time in with travel hockey and are being recruited for Division III programs.”

South sophomore Leah Czerwinski and East junior Lexi Skibitsky have also played on the Roezter-Scolnick line.

Other forward lines include Skibitsky centering South junior Carly Gambacorta and East junior Emma Hubert; East freshman Amanda Gaffney centering North junior Olivia Rutkowski and East freshman Holly Schmelzer; and South freshman Jenna Woods centering North junior Farrell Garrity and South forward Allison Carosi.

Other forwards rotating into games are South junior Mia Fournier; North sophomores Nina Hartke and Shannon Quinlan; and South freshman Kaitlyn Quagliana and Mill Middle eighth-grader Jenna Piotrowski.

Other defensemen lines include junior assistant captain Samantha Gaffney with South sophomore Maggie Fuzak; and North freshmen Kaylee Conover and Rachel Juneau. Another defenseman, Mill Middle School eighth-grader Anna Tallman, is recovering from an injury.

The goaltending duties have East freshman Jenna Lukomski, South freshman Rose Quattro and Transit Middle School seventh grader Mia Wendell.

Hopkins is joined by assistant coaches Dalton Beaver and Amanda Nolan.

Williamsville opened the season 1-1-1, tying Kenmore, 1-1, on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the Lincoln Arena; losing to Lancaster/Iroquois, 2-1, on Dec. 4 at the Northtown Center at Amherst; and beating West Seneca/Hamburg, 6-1, on Friday at the West Seneca Ice Rink.

Scolnick tied the game against Kenmore with an unassisted goal with seven minutes remaining.

“She intercepted a pass and scored a shot to the high glove side of Lauren Pray, arguably the best goalie in the league,” Hopkins said.

Lukomski made 28 saves on 29 shots.

“She kept us in it and played like a senior,” Hopkins said.

Williamsville recorded 26 shots on goal.

Williamsville outshot Lancaster/ Iroquois, 35-17, but could not score until 1:56 remaining when Czerwinski knocked in a rebound off a shot from Skibitsky.

Lancaster/Iroquois scored both of its goals in the second period, including the game-winning goal by Brianna Colucci with 28 seconds remaining.

Lukomski made 17 saves and Lancaster/Iroquois goalie Maddie Norton made 34 stops.

Williamsville responded the next day against West Seneca/Hamburg with three goals in the first period.

Scolnick opened the scoring from Roetzer 4½ minutes into the game. Three minutes later, Rutkowski tallied from Czerwinski and Sidorski. Roetzer made it 3-0, assisted by Czerwinski, with 4:25 remaining.

Williamsville added three more tallies in the second period. At the 2:26 mark, Schmelzer used her speed and rushed down the right wing and scored a high shot to the left corner of the net, assisted by Amanda Gaffney.

“That was a big goal for us,” Hopkins said. “It set the tone for the second period.”

Later in the period, Rutkowski added her second goal of the game, assisted by Samantha Gaffney; and Amanda Gaffney added her first goal of the season, assisted by Skibitsky and Schmelzer, with five minutes remaining.

West Seneca/Hamburg scored two minutes into the third period.

Quattro recorded 11 saves.

Throughout the three games, Hopkins said the players have picked up valuable experience and the team has generated a lot of offense.

Williamsville faces West Seneca/Hamburg on Thursday on the Northtown Center at Amherst Feature Rink.

The state championships will be held Feb. 6-7 at HarborCenter, an event Williamsville would like to be competing in.

“We have as good a shot as anybody,” Hopkins said. “I’d like to think we will compete for sectional and federation titles. We have to win close games and continue to improve. You want to be playing your best hockey when the postseason rolls around.”

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