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FLOP looking for the Trifecta

The Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park (FLOP) girls’ hockey team received a hero’s welcome home Sunday night.

The team bus received a police escort for the final mile of their two and a half-hour trip from Oswego State to Orchard Park following their first-ever state championship.

Two fire trucks came to Orchard Park High School and fully extended their ladders to create a special entrance for the team while blasting their sirens.

As the bus entered the parking lot the team was greeted by fans, fellow students, family and a set of communities that wanted to celebrate the accomplishment with them.

The whole fire dept is here at Orchard Park High School. Too bad its pouring out. @FLOPGVH @WNYAthletics @NEWS4_NICK @jennacallari @op_athletics @AthleticsLSC pic.twitter.com/hWCTUwae4B — WNY Girls Ice Hockey (@WNYGirlsHockey) February 11, 2018

@Stuboyar welcome home FLOP StateChampions. pic.twitter.com/aBSuJvtiPy — FFLOP (@FLOPGVH) February 12, 2018

“That was truly something I will never forget,” Emily Kromer said on Wednesday. “To pull in and see a parade of people and see all three districts represent was there was really cool.”

“It was so touching to see how big of something you are to those people,” Brooke Becker said. “It was amazing.”

The FLOP made history not only winning their own first state title but becoming the first team from Section VI to win the top honor in its eighth year of playing girls’ hockey.

Officially, because there are only four sections that compete in girls’ hockey in New York State it is recognized as a ‘regional championship’, but otherwise it’s considered a state title.

“It’s really cool being a part of history,” Mary Kromer said, “especially in girls’ hockey since it’s such a small world. I hope this gets a lot of girls to start playing and be a part of this.”

The post-game celebration took a little of bit of planning ahead of time and FLOP coach Bob Klimowicz knows it was absolutely worth it.

“Bill Pavone set the ball rolling on that,” Klimowicz said. “At the start of the year he said, we have a really good chance of winning states this year so we need to have a parade for them. I threw it to a parent who has a lot of connections. We had everything in place. It was fantastic and something the players will never forget.”

Last year, the FLOP took home the sectional title and won the state semifinal. But they fell one game short, losing 5-1 to Skaneateles in the final.

They came home after states and won three straight games to win the Federation tournament.

They had won two of the three championships.

This year the goal was to win the trifecta.

“Once this team was picked we got in a huddle after one of our practices and I said ‘we didn’t seal the deal last year’,” Klimowicz said. “The trifecta, we had the sectional championship and the federation championship but we didn’t win states.”

The FLOP won the sectional title last week defeating Williamsville 3-1.

On Saturday, they had a chance at revenge with Skaneateles in the semifinal. They took down the Lakers in convincing fashion, 6-3.

The FLOP was humbly optimistic heading into the final against Salmon River from Section X.

“When I was watching Salmon River’s semifinal game against Beekmantown, I turned to my assistant coach and said, ‘they aren’t going to be able to handle our speed’, and that’s how it went in the final,” Klimowicz said.

Becker, Haley Tatar, and Emily Kromer gave the FLOP a 3-0 lead heading into the third period. Becker scored another goal before Salmon River added one late for a final score of 4-1.

Girls hockey is the only sport where, at least in Section VI, a team has more games to play after participating in a state championship. Meaning it would fair to question whether the team could be prepared to compete again.

But the FLOP hasn’t finished the job, they want the ‘trifecta’.

“People are asking me if the girls will be ready for the Federation playoffs. I tell them we still have one goal left to go,” Klimowicz said.

The have a tall task out of the gate taking on Williamsville in the Federation semifinals Thursday, 4 p.m. at the Northtown Center.

“The slate is wiped clean after today’s practice,” Emily Kromer said. “Playoff hockey is one of those things where your past doesn’t matter. It matters what you bring on the ice that game. Williamsville is hot and motivated to knock us off.”

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