Skaneateles – The Clinton Warriors girls varsity hockey team’s improbable run toward the 2019 Section 3 Championship came to an end on Sunday, with the girls from “Hockeyville USA” falling to defending champion Skaneateles by a score of 6-3.
While the scoreboard showed a differential of three goals, this game was very much closer than the final tally showed.
The two teams played a fast paced first period, with both teams having good scoring chances and the officials seemingly allowing the teams to play their respective games. At the end of the first period, the teams were deadlocked in a scoreless tie.
The second period was, for all intents and purposes, the start of a wholly different game. Clinton was called for a total 5 second period penalties, to just one against home standing Skaneateles, by an officiating duo that appeared confused at times, out of position at others and well behind the action at others. Without taking an ounce of credit away from a very talented and well coached Skaneateles team, the disparity in penalties called in the second period was way out of balance for the mutually fast paced and aggressive game that was being played.
The Lakers capitalized on 3 of Clinton’s second period penalties with three consecutive power play goals and jumped out to a 4-1 lead over the visiting Warriors after 30 minutes of play. Alyssa Nardslico scored the lone goal in the second period for Clinton.
Luciana Robertelli, one of the heroes in Clinton’s come from behind 4-2 semifinal win over Ithaca less than 24 hours before today’s game, was stellar in goal again, stopping the first 32 shots that she faced in the first two periods. Many of Robertelli’s outstanding saves also came during the Lakers 7 power plays in the first two periods.
Clinton, the #4 seed in the 4th seed in the 5 team tournament field, came out flying in the third period and their leading scorer on the season, Mia Lopata pulled the Warriors to within 4-2 early in the period, giving the huge crowd that made the trip to beautiful Allyn Arena something to cheer loudly about.
Skaneateles would answer the Clinton rally with two goals of their own extending the lead to 6-2 midway through the third period. Mia Lopata tallied again, her 9th goal of the season, to pull the Warriors within 6-3, which is the way this one would end.
Luciana Robertelli finished the day with 39 saves for Clinton, which finished the season at (6-8-1) overall.
Looking back on the season, Clinton Head Coach Nicole Ruddy said she was very proud of the progress her team made as the year went on. “We have improved in so many ways, speed and playing smart hockey being two of the biggest areas” she said, adding “our effort yesterday (the win at Ithaca) was amazing, to come back from a 2 goal deficit on the road against Ithaca, that was tremendous and to be here today, when nobody else thought we would be here, it’s even better”.
The Warriors will say goodbye to four seniors when the bus returns to Clinton today: Adriana Chapa, Bella Facciolo, Devyn Farrell and Sky Walter have played their last games for this groundbreaking hockey team. Fear not though Clinton faithful, your Warriors return a large group of underclassmen, with a whole lot of experience to next year’s squad.
Congratulations to Clinton on a gutsy run to the Section 3 title game and best of luck to Skaneateles at the New York State Tournament next weekend in Buffalo.