Weekly Feature



2016-12-08 / Sports

MMA girls hockey suffers first loss since 2015

by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter

The Monsignor Martin Association girls ice hockey team has been a dominating force, capturing four Western New York Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Federation championships in the six-year history of the league, including the last two.

Last year’s squad finished 13-0-0-1, the first time the squad went undefeated since the 2012-13 team went 20-0.

But there will be no undefeated season this winter as they suffered a 5-1 loss against Orchard Park/Frontier/ Lake Shore Thursday at the Nike Base in Hamburg. It was the Monsignor Martin Association’s first league loss since falling to Orchard Park/Frontier on Jan. 2, 2015.

“They need to understand that every game is not going to be handed to us and it’s going to be a battle,” coach Linda Mroz said. “We learned that lesson against Orchard Park. We didn’t show up to play and were not playing smart hockey, and they capitalized on our mistakes. We have to go back to basics and come together as a team. It was a hard lesson to learn but at least it was early in the season and not in playoffs.”

The Monsignor Martin Association roster is made of seven different private schools: Sacred Heart, Mount Mercy, Nardin, St. Mary’s of Lancaster, Mount St. Mary, Buffalo Seminary and Niagara Catholic.

The team captains are Sacred Heart senior center Kaitlin Drew-Mead, Sacred Heart junior forward Kayla Blas, Niagara Catholic senior defenseman Danielle Bos and Buffalo Seminary junior defenseman Ellie Cleary.

Drew-Mead, a four-year varsity player, was named the 2016 All-Bee Most Valuable Player and is a returning First Team All-Western York selection. She led the MMA with 16 goals and eight assists, which ranked fifth in the league. She also scored three game-winning goals, which tied for the lead league with four other players.

Drew-Mead scored the team’s lone goal against Orchard Park/Frontier/Lake Shore and tallied two goals and an assist in the team’s 7-2 victory over Lancaster/Iroquois/ Depew on Nov. 22 at Holiday Twin Rinks.

Mroz said Drew-Mead can play center, a wing and or defense if needed.

“She’s every coach’s dream,” Mroz said. “She has sick hands, speed and the shot. She’s an overall great athlete but what makes it even better is that she has a great personality too. She’s a leader on and off the ice, which sometimes can be difficult because when she gets the puck, I tend to see most of our team standing still in awe.

Drew-Mead centers the top forward line with Blas and Nardin junior Isabelle Friedman.

Blas is a three-year varsity player who is being more vocal on and off the ice, and encourages her teammates. Blas scored a goal against Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew.

“She is also picking up her game too, passing the puck ahead on the wing and crashing the net,” Mroz said.

Also returning is Sacred Heart senior Makenna Walp, who alternates at goalie with Mount Mercy senior Brianna Gawronski, a returning First Team All-WNY and First Team All-Bee goalie.

Gawronski recorded the win in the Fed title game last year. Walp is getting more comfortable at coming out of the net to move pucks.

Other team members from the Bee coverage area are five players from Sacred Heart, junior defenseman Danielle Trubish, sophomore defenseman Mackenzie Blake, and freshmen forwards Jacquelyn Klawon, Alyssa Piazza and Abby Ruggiero; Ava Tower and Emily Matthew, sophomore defensemen from Mount St. Mary’s; and Riley Malicki, a freshman forward from St. Mary’s of Lancaster.

Mroz said Tower is an offensive defenseman but is solid on the defensive line.

“She plays a solid game,” Mroz said. “We are working on trying her to pick up her pace of her game.”

Kalwon recorded a goal and two assists against Lancaster/ Iroquois/Depew.

The Monsignor Martin Asscociation faced Kenmore/ Grand Island Monday at Buffalo Riverworks but information about the game was unavailable before press time. The squad returns to action against Williamsville at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the North Buffalo Ice Rink and against West Seneca/Hamburg/Eden at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the West Seneca Town Ice Rink.

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