Tonawanda News — AMHERST — It took until late in the third period to go ahead in the game, but that suited the Kenmore girls hockey team just fine as they took down Lancaster 2-1 to win its third straight Section VI championship.
With 2:39 remaining in the third period, senior center Jill Battista scored her second goal of the game while shorthanded to give Kenmore a lead that it wouldn’t relinquish.
“In a game like this, with stakes this high, effort and will are the most important factors in determining who wins and who loses,” Kenmore coach Jeff Orlowski said. “I told our girls before the game started that whoever wins will go to the net and play hard-nosed hockey, and we certainly did that tonight.”
The first period saw a back-and-forth affair between the two teams. Both Kenmore and Lancaster recorded multiple scoring chances, but neither team was able to slip a goal past goaltenders Lauren Pray (Kenmore) and Madeline Norton, who finished with 22 and 35 saves, respectively.
Battista opened the scoring with less than two minutes to play in the second period on a strange play. After Battista took a wrist shot from the right face off circle, the puck deflected off of numerous players before settling in the back of the net.
“Coach told us before the face off that we needed to start playing simple hockey, go to the net more and just shoot the puck more, so I took his advice,” Battista said. “It was definitely a lucky goal, but we’ll take it.”
After Lancaster captain Meghan Fonfara scored early in the third period to even the game, Battista scored to put Kenmore up by one nearly 10 minutes later. Fonfara then took an ill-advised cross-checking penalty which snuffed out any chance of a comeback for her team.
“Shutting down Fonfara was the key to winning tonight, and even though she scored on us late in the game, we did a pretty good job on her,” Orlowski said. “I’ve really got to give credit to our team’s defensive game tonight, because Fonfara is Lancaster’s best player. We did an excellent job in our own end tonight.”