POTSDAM - The North Country Ice Storm 12-Under Girls dominated their way to the New York State Amateur Hockey Association Tier II Championship this past weekend in Rochester.
Guided by Ernie Jeneault along with assistants John Cipullo, Todd Sloan and Casey Jones, and sanctioned by the Potsdam Junior Hockey Association, the Ice Storm reeled off 25 goals while allowing just three over the course of their five wins, including back-to-back shutout victories in the semifinal and championship games.
We had a very tough schedule this year. We played a lot A and double-A teams from Canada because we wanted to play teams that would give us a real good challenge, noted coach Jeneault.
If you look at our season record, we were right around the five-hundred mark but the team has really come together over the last three weeks. Our goal going to Rochester was to be more than just competitive. Our goal was to bring back a state banner, he added.
Before heading to Rochester, the Ice Storm players got some valuable advice from members of the NCAA Frozen Four bound Clarkson University womens hockey team during one of their practices.
They talked to us about how to prepare for games, about eating the right meals, about having good rest habits. I thought that helped us a lot. The players really bought into it and they made it work, said Jeneault.
I want to give credit to Potsdam Junior Hockey too, he added. They are really, really supportive of all their programs. They make sure all the teams have good ice times for practice and games.
The Ice Storm, who consist of players from a half dozen area communities, opened their pursuit of the state championship with a 6-1 win over CNY Bobcats before going on to beat the Buffalo Regals 3-1 and West Seneca 6-1 in their other preliminary round games. As the top seed from their division, they earned a bid to the semifinals where they skated to a 6-0 decision over the Lady Islanders to set up a championship game encounter with the Hamburg Hawks where they sealed the tournament title with a 4-0 win.
Ice Storm 6, CNY Bobcats 1: In their tournament opener last Friday, the Ice Storm scored three times in the third period to put away the Bobcats and set the tone for their weekend run to the state title.
Gabrielle Jones scored the first Ice Storm goal and the last two goals while logging a solo assist in sparking the win. Hannah Zenger and Meg Wilmshurst each tallied a goal and assist. Mikayla Cipullo connected for the other goal. Rosie Jenault notched a pair of helpers while Taylor Swamp and Hannah Chilton each contributed solo assists. Carli Cartier recorded her first of five wins between the pipes for the locals.
Ice Storm 3, Buffalo Regals 1: The Ice Storm returned to the ice Saturday morning for what turned out to be their closest game of the weekend. Zenger netted the eventual game-winner in the second period off an assist from Alana McDonald and helped set up the third Ice Storm goal by Wilmshurst in the third frame. Erica Sloan finished off an assist from Chilton to account for the first NC goal.
Ice Storm 6, West Seneca 1: Later on Saturday, the Ice Storm broke open a close game with three goals in the middle frame before going on to clinch the top seed from their round robin division.
McKenna Yette stepped up to anchor the winning effort with two goals, including the game-winner in the second period, and an assist. Jeneault, Chilton and Zenger each tallied a goal and assist. Gabbie Jones accounted for the other goal while Hayley Gray picked up an assist.
Ice Storm 6, Lady Islanders 0: In their semifinal round matchup Sunday morning, the Ice Storm built a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal by Cipullo that was assisted by Wilmshurst before taking full control with three goals in the middle frame.
Wilmshurst wound up producing two goals and two assists. Sloan also connected for a pair of goals. Jones fashioned a goal and two assists while Cipullo finished with a solo helper along with Chilton, Jeneault, Kylie Letham and Brittany Martin.
Ice Storm 4, Hamburg Hawks 0: The Ice Storm continued their outstanding play through to the end of the championship game as they posted their second straight shutout to claim the tournament title.
Wilmshurst scored off an assist from Jones in the first period and that held up as the game-winner. Jeneault struck for the second and fourth goals of the game and set up the third by Sloan as the Ice Storm added a pair of unanswered markers in the middle frame. Chilton logged a solo assist and Cartier worked the crease for the shutout to finish the tournament with a 0.60 goals against average.
While not contributing offensively over the weekend, Alexis Seymour made regular contributions on defense as a member of the blueline corps. Kim Jones served as the teams general manager.