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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Adirondack United Girls’ Hockey Team Clinches State Championship, Finishes Season Undefeated

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The Adirondack United girls’ hockey team has achieved their goal in the most spectacular fashion imaginable.

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in Utica, the United staged an impressive comeback to triumph over Section 6’s Kenmore/Grand Island with a 7-3 victory, clinching the NYSPHSAA girls’ hockey regional championship.

“The feeling of accomplishment is overwhelming, knowing that all our hard work has finally paid off,” United forward Bayley Duffy expressed over the phone. “It’s incredibly satisfying to see the fruits of our labor, knowing that we’ve achieved our goal after putting in so much effort.”

Despite being two goals down after the first period, the United rallied in the second period to level the score, before taking control in the third period.

A year after their disappointing loss in the championship game, Saturday’s victory not only secured the United the NYSPHSAA title, but also marked a flawless 18-0 season.

“This is a season that will forever be etched in our memories. It’s a record that can only be equaled, but never surpassed,” United coach Jeff Willis proudly stated. “We’re thrilled to continue making history with this program, from reaching the state finals in our first year and losing, to winning it all in our second year with an unbeaten record. I’m eager to keep this momentum going and build a legacy of excellence in girls ice hockey in Section 2.”

Entering the second period with a 2-0 deficit, Emily Macaulay put the United on the scoreboard with less than six minutes remaining. Shortly after, Bayley Duffy scored to level the game at 2-2.

“We had to assert our dominance,” Willis explained how his team turned the tide. “Once we started doing that in the second period, despite being behind, you could see the panic setting in.”

“It was a rush of adrenaline,” Macaulay said of her goal. “We were all ecstatic to get that goal in, and from there, the only direction was upwards.”

The United then went on a scoring spree in the third period, netting five goals, which was initiated by Tekla Fine-Lease, who gave her team a 3-2 lead just a few minutes in.

“It was a huge relief,” Fine-Lease said of taking the lead in the third. “We were down 2-0 early in the first period, but we knew we had to fight back and that’s exactly what we did. Taking the lead was a huge relief, but we knew there was still a lot of work to be done.”

Macaulay then netted the next two goals for the United, completing a hat trick, while Duffy scored her second of the game to extend Adirondack’s lead to 6-2.

“The fact that it was a competitive game, unlike some of the others we’ve had this season, made the state championship even more satisfying,” Duffy said of the United’s comeback. “I wouldn’t say I enjoy being behind, but looking back, I don’t mind it at all.”

While Kenmore/Grand Island managed to score a late goal, Emma Lemery sealed the victory for the United with a final goal.

“The celebration was even better than I had imagined,” Fine-Lease said. “I had never experienced such joy before, but today I did. It was an experience I’m extremely excited to have had. It was a feeling like no other.”

“It was even more amazing than I had dreamed,” Macaulay added. “Everyone was so happy and I almost started crying. The energy that we brought, it was so surreal.”

The United concluded the regular season with a perfect 14-0 record. They won the Section 2/7 championship and three state playoff games to complete the perfect season.

“It feels great to be perfect, but a lot of effort went into making it happen,” Duffy said, “especially all the support we’ve received from our community.”

Adirondack United 0 2 5 — 7

Kenmore/Grand Island 2 0 1 – 3

ADK scoring: B. Duffy 2-1, E. Macaulay 3-0; Fine-Lease 1-0; Lemery 1-0; Willis 0-4; Marcantonio 0-1; Raven 0-1. Kenmore scoring: Jayme 1-1; Shaft 1-0; Bourgeault 1-0; Horne 0-1; Jagow 0-1. Goalies: ADK, Reynolds, 11  saves; Kenmore, Horne, 28 saves.

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Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan, an informed and passionate sports reporter, is a former college athlete with a degree in Sports Communication from Ithaca College. Go Bombers!
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