Northtown Center was rocking. The level of play was high. And the games did not disappoint.
With year one now complete, it’s safe to say that girls ice hockey can work here in Western New York. The WNY Girls Federation’s first-ever Final Four — with two cardiac semis and an entertaining final — was a big hit.
And moments after winning the title game, 6-0 over Orchard Park/Frontier, Williamsville coach Rick Hopkins was adamant to credit the league as a whole.
“There should be seven team names on that cup,” he said, referencing the championship cup his team brought home.
With some 500 fans watching, Williamsville scored three goals in the game’s first two minutes and never looked back. Shauna Clair scored two times as goalie Theresa Meosky made 15 saves. Orchard Park/Frontier pulled off the upset of the season, beating the Monsignor Martin Association in the semis, but Williamsville was clearly the dominant team Friday.
Cool scene afterward, too.
Williamsville — a conglomeration of three rival schools — celebrated throughout the building with their families. Maybe that’s the best proof that the league worked. Teams that compete against each other, including field hockey, came together for this experiment to work. After this week, the league appears sustainable with the potential to grow.
“I coached a lot of them in house league and travel,” Hopkins said. “When you have three schools involved, it takes some bonding.
“They were so excited back in June when it was announced that there would be a league. As excited as they are now, I think they were even more excited back when they realized they could earn a varsity letter in girls ice hockey.”